Section 10

What is Motivation?

So far we have discussed the science and theories of how to dismantle the negativity and the barriers that might stop you from living a happy and optimistic life. Next, we will discuss the science and theories of motivation. In the second chapter we will build a system from these sciences and we will provide an actual method and system to execute these theories in action. In the second chapter you will move along the path illustrated below:

(Apathy, negativity, and boredom)—–>Motivation—–>Passion—–>Creativity—–>Innovation—–>Entrepreneurship

Not living a motivated life is dangerous. It might lead to depression, apathy and health problems. We strongly believe prolonged period of apathy and not being motivated will lead to depression. In the words of two prominent researchers, the late Gerald L. Klerman and Myrna M. Weissman of Cornell University, "society itself has pathogenic effects." What’s more, they say, the rate of depression has been doubling every twenty years since 1960, largely due to the increasing stresses and isolation imposed on the modern family.

We believe many physical illnesses such as negative lifestyle, obesity, lack of exercise, isolation, and stress might be directly linked to the fact that people have lost their sense of purpose and are not motivated. In spite of enormous amounts of research, no one has yet come up with a solution to getting people motivated. Hopefully this book will be a start.


Why Be Motivated? (Tools: Autonomy and Relatedness)

People need a sense of motivation, an altruistic purpose to live an optimistic life. Our immune system also functions properly when we are motivated. Not many people know or believe that we are genetically created to be happy and have a sense of altruistic purpose. We are part of an altruistic society that gets satisfaction from doing things for the benefit of others and being able to interact with each other in a satisfactory way. Those of us who lack motivation in life, happiness can seem like an unreachable shore. This hopelessness can foster a "what’s the use" attitude that saps your motivation.

We also see that the lack of correct motivation brings out situations where people behave irresponsibly and are engaging in unhealthy behaviors. Some are ignoring their children, going hopelessly into debt, and abusing drugs.

Rebellious is rampant in our schools. Wall street is engulfed with insider trading and price fixing. Unfortunately both the individuals and people close to them will suffer for their own irresponsibility.

We will explain that the main and first ingredient of intrinsic motivation is autonomy.

When intrinsically motivated, people tend to perceive the locus of causality for their behavior to be internal, and they are guided more by their internal states. When extrinsically motivated, however, they tend to perceive the locus of causality to be external, and their behavior is more a function of external controls.

Autonomy is when one acts in accord with one’s self; it means self-governing and feeling free to take responsibilities for one’s actions. Autonomous people go about their activities with a sense of interest and commitment.

A person is defined autonomous if he/she uses his/her own information to make a decision or to change the environment to enhance his/her well being. We will show that learning new tasks is significantly facilitated by autonomy, and further by qualities that are functional for autonomy. To feel and to have an autonomous personality, requires that a person feel flexible, open to new information, capable of decision making for change and most important, be able to evaluate his/her decisions and the results of the change. Another quality of the autonomous person is the ability to facilitate an environment that can contribute further to his/her autonomy. All these modifications and change must be self-guided.

We believe autonomy is multidimensional and varies in degree.
If the dimensions are distinct enough, we can talk of kinds of autonomy, such as material autonomy, psychological autonomy, social autonomy, and informational autonomy. These kinds of autonomy arise at different levels, and in differing hierarchies of levels, so autonomy is also relative to level and hierarchy. Autonomy must always be self generating, or an autonomous person would not be able to maintain it. Furthermore, autonomous persons are best formed spontaneously. The best way to foster autonomy is to let it grow under the right conditions. We will these conditions in detail.

Creativity, innovation and pragmatic ideas themselves need not be autonomous, but they must be functional within an autonomous system in order to have a pragmatic meaning. The significant thing about genuine creativity is its spontaneous and self-organizing character, permitted by the openness and revisability. It is central to the process of teaching someone something they don’t know, or even have the immediate capacity for. The high level information to be transmitted that is usually involved in a skill or abstract idea not only needs to be duplicated, but it must be integrated into the functioning of the learning. This means that ultimately it must be able to contribute to the autonomy of that person, so that it can be used in novel ways, rather than just in the form in which it was transmitted. Autonomous people are capable of generating novel functions on their own.

According to professor Deci, " the key to understanding autonomy, authenticity, and self is the psychological process called integration.

Various aspects of a person’s psyche differ in the degree to which they have been integrated or brought into harmony with the person’s innate, core self. Only when the processes that initiate and regulate an action are integrated aspects of one’s self, would the behavior be autonomous and the person, authentic. It is in this sense that to be authentic is to be true to one’s self.

According to Professor Deci, autonomy does not mean being alone.

"As people become more authentic, as they develop greater capacity for autonomous self regulation, they also become capable of a deeper relatedness to others."….. Deci says: "It is easy to find employees who feel like "slaves," but it is harder to find active workers who, in a meaningful sense, are their own masters. It is easy to find children who feel like part of "the crew," but it is harder to find ones who feel like the captains of their own ship. These are the kinds of issues that are relevant to fostering the motivation of people in one-down positions and, more broadly, to promoting human autonomy and responsibility within society."……"A master-slave relationship exists to some extent within everyone. People can regulate themselves in quite autonomous and authentic ways, or alternatively in quite controlling and dictatorial ways, pressuring and criticizing themselves. The extent to which it is one versus the other depends on the degree of resolution of that master-slave dichotomy."

According to Prof. Stephen Reiss of Ohio State University, it’s important to make the distinction between long-lasting, "value-based happiness" and the more transient, hedonistic, "feel-good happiness." In an article in Psychology Today he wrote:

Feel-good happiness is sensation-based pleasure. When we joke around or have sex, we experience feel-good happiness. Since feel-good happiness is ruled by the law of diminishing returns, the kicks get harder to come by. This type of happiness rarely lasts longer than a few hours at a time. Value-based happiness is a sense that our lives have meaning and fulfill some larger purpose. It represents a spiritual source of satisfaction, stemming from our deeper purpose and values. Since value happiness is not ruled by the law of diminishing returns, there is no limit to how meaningful our lives can be.

Professor Grinde suggest that happiness is linked to two key concepts: "One, to avoid discord situations, and the concomitant strain, by adjusting the conditions of life to innate tendencies; and two, to utilize the brain’s potential for rewarding sensations. Thus happiness (in a biological sense) should correlate with how successful the individual is in pursuing these principles. A related description has previously been referred to as ‘Darwinian happiness’ (Grinde, 1996)." He defines discord as a situation that in some, if not most, people cause an element of strain in a negative sense.

Since motivation is as result of brain’s potential for rewarding sensations, we define happiness as a direct function of motivation.

So what does make us motivated?

What happens to people’s curiosity and vitality over time?

According to the research there are eight fundamentals of value happiness. Psychologist define the eight fundamentals of happiness as:

1. Connection to others

2. Autonomy

3. Self-esteem

4. Competence

5. Purpose

6. Connection to your body

7. Connection to nature

8. Spirituality

Some of the fundamentals of value happiness such as relatedness, self-esteem, competence, autonomy, and a sense of purpose were discussed deeply in a recent large-scale study by psychology professor Kennon Sheldon and others of the University of Missouri. These studies involved more than some six hundred individuals in both the United States and South Korea. The study was cross-cultural. The fact that both cross cultured participants showed the same attributes shows that these factors to happiness are likely to be innate to us as a species, part of our evolutionary inheritance. You would be happy to know that wealth, luxury, and other hedonistic pleasures were way down the list.

We, however, believe motivation is even stronger and is the main root of all needs. In other words motivation is the mother of all needs. Without motivation, connection to others is not possible. Motivated people make connections. Without motivation competency that leads to self-esteem is not possible. We believe motivation is the root of all needs.

Deci’s research indicates that self-motivation, rather than external motivation, is at the heart of creativity, responsibility, healthy behavior, and lasting change. According to Deci , the proper question is not, "how can people motivate others?" but rather, "how can people create the conditions within which others will motivate themselves?" The purpose of this book is to discuss self-motivation and techniques for developing conditions for greater autonomy and authenticity that people can motivate themselves.



Destined to Cheat? New research finds free will can keep us honest

With the start of the New Year millions of Americans have resolved to lie less, cheat less, put the holiday hangovers behind them, or otherwise better their lives. Some will moderate their bad habits; others may make significant changes and become shining examples of integrity. But most of those well-intended New Year’s resolutions are destined to fail. In an age where cheating scandals plague elite universities and major corporations are brought down by unethical actions, the debate about the origins and nature of our decisions play into a larger debate about genetic determinism and free will.

It is well established that changing people’s sense of responsibility can change their behavior. But what would happen if people came to believe that their behavior was the inevitable product of a causal chain beyond their control — a predetermined fate beyond the reach of free will?

Surprisingly, the link between fatalistic beliefs and unethical behavior has never been examined scientifically — until now. In two recent experiments, psychologists Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota and Jonathan Schooler of the University of British Columbia decided to explore this knotty philosophical issue in the lab, and they figured out an innovative way to do it.

Vohs and Schooler set out to see if otherwise honest people would cheat and lie if their beliefs in free will were manipulated.

The psychologists gave college students a mathematics exam. The math problems appeared on a computer screen, and the subjects were told that a computer glitch would cause the answers to appear on the screen as well. To prevent the answers from showing up, the students had to hit the space bar as soon as the problems appeared.

In fact, the scientists were observing to see if the participants surreptitiously used the answers instead of solving the problems honestly on their own. Prior to the math test, Vohs and Schooler used a well-established method to prime the subjects’ beliefs regarding free will: some of the students were taught that science disproves the notion of free will and that the illusion of free will was a mere artifact of the brain’s biochemistry whereas others got no such indoctrination.

The results were clear: those with weaker convictions about their power to control their own destiny were more apt to cheat when given the opportunity as compared to those whose beliefs about controlling their own lives were left untouched.

Vohs and Schooler then went a step further to see if they could get people to cheat with unmistakable intention and effort. In a second study, the experimenters set up a different deception: they had the subjects take a very difficult cognitive test. Then, the subjects solved a series of problems without supervision and scored themselves. They also “rewarded” themselves $1 for each correct answer; in order to collect, they had to walk across the room and help themselves to money in a manila envelope.

The psychologists had previously primed the participants to have their beliefs in free will bolstered or reduced by having them read statements supporting a deterministic stance of human behavior. And the results were just as robust. As reported in the January issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, this study shows that those with a stronger belief in their own free will were less apt to steal money than were those with a weakened belief.

Although the results of this study point to a significant value in believing that free will exists, it clearly raises some significant societal questions about personal beliefs and personal behavior.

Author Contact: Kathleen Vohs


Psychological Science is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information. For a copy of the article “The Value of Believing in Free Will: Encouraging a Belief in Determinism Increases Cheating” please contact Rebecca Monro at (612) 626-7940 or


Continue First Chapter Section 11

What is Motivation; Optimism, Happiness, Self-Esteem, Creativity, Competency, Intrinsic Motivation, Meditation, Inspiration, Coaching, Life Coach, Motivational, Mindfulness .

Alexander K. Katiraie BS, BA, MS, MBA

Mentoring Program

To reach me please call 424 200 2328 or email