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

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.  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.

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 a 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.

Self-motivation, rather than external motivation, is at the heart of creativity, responsibility, healthy behavior, and lasting change. 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.

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