Motivation is an important topic in business. Companies want their workers to be motivated so that they can be more productive. People have various ways of getting motivated, some that work better than others.
There are some fairly common motivation techniques, however, that really do not work all that well, although people believe that they do. But psychologists have discovered that they really do not help. Here are three of the most common misconceptions about what will get us motivated.
1. Write down your goals.
Some people believe that they will achieve their goals if they just write them down, make them tangible, so to speak. This belief has gained currency in large part because of an apocryphal story about a study that chronicled the goal setting methods used by a group of college students. According to the lore, only a small percentage of the students actually wrote down their goals in a specific way, and years later, they became the most successful. The problem is that the story just is not true.
Now, getting specific about what you want to accomplish is actually a good thing. When you set goals you want to be as concrete and specific as possible. This does help. But writing down your goals in and of itself really does nothing to motivate people.
2. Do the best you can
People believe that taking this attitude is a motivator. But actually, it is only a way of giving tacit approval to a pedestrian effort. It takes away any pressure to perform.
Rather than simply taking the attitude of “do your best,” psychologists have found a better motivator to be establishing goals that are both specific and difficult. When goals are difficult, people more often automatically increase their effort, concentration, and engagement.
3. Visualize what you want to accomplish
Like the advice of doing the best you can, this may act to suppress motivation rather than enhance it. It becomes little more than daydreaming. And visualizing success conveniently omits all of the struggle and sacrifice needed to achieve that success, all of the things you need to do to make it to your goal. It takes away your desire to prepare, to think about the obstacles you may face and how to deal with them.
People who are caught up in this mantra just assume that by visualizing, success will simply come to them. What you need to do, rather, is to visualize the steps you need to take to achieve your goal, rather than just the achievement of the goal itself.