Over-motivation: An underestimated enemy

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Louise Hay


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We all know that, if we are not motivated, we will probably go through life "without taking pleasure" in what we do and therefore, the results we will get will be rather poor. In these cases we often hear the classic phrase repeated: "you lack motivation". But ... what happens when, on the contrary, we have a excess of motivation? It is a reality that we almost never consider Yerkes-Dodson's law can you offer us an explanation. While I normally observe the research of behavioral psychologists and ethologists with suspicion, I must recognize that sometimes these professionals can obtain particularly interesting results. This is the case of the experiment that gave rise to the aforementioned law. In that case, the guinea pigs had to solve three problems with different degrees of difficulty: high, medium and low. What motivated the rodents to find a solution was to avoid the electric discharge (it must be said that applied to humans this experiment would be considered torture). Researchers soon realized that the intensity of the electric discharge could favor the outcome of the experiment, but at the same time it could become an obstacle that prevented its realization. First conclusion: the intensity of the motivation is directly proportional to the outcome of the experiment, but this proportion does not grow indefinitely. Second conclusion: when too high a peak of motivation is highlighted, it turns into an incentive to fail. Consequently, there is an optimal motivation point that suggests two ideas:1. To achieve anything you need to be motivated. In the beginning, the higher the motivation, the higher the likelihood of reaching the goal. However, failure can occur when a certain motivational limit is exceeded.
2. The optimal level of motivation varies from one goal to another, depending on the level of complexity. Thus, in the more complex tasks, the optimal point of motivation is not very high, while in the simpler ones, the excess of motivation is a factor that often leads to failure. 'increase in motivation, but starting from reaching the optimal motivational point, the level of performance decreases.

How do we adapt the result obtained with guinea pigs to everyday life?

Sometimes we are too rigid with ourselves and we continually repeat phrases such as: "I absolutely cannot go wrong", "I will review my results as many times as necessary, they must be perfect". When we think in this way, the excess of motivation appears and mental blocks are created, as evidence of this the phrase: “I am blocked” appears. This happens when we obsessively prepare for an exam, a job interview, or just to impress someone.So, a little slip in our mental program tortures us and detracts from our attention, causing our performance to fail. is the one hoped for. The result we get is much lower than our expectations due to too much stress and excessive motivation that exceeds the optimal level required by the activity we have to carry out. Of course, the more complex a task the more relaxed we should be, since we need to use all our psychological resources to deal with the activity.This often happens in the sphere of sexuality, and in fact, it turns out to be one of the explanations of the phenomenon. known as: performance anxiety. In fact, one of the causes of impotence, erection problems and premature ejaculation is simply the excess of motivation generated by thoughts related to the sexual act. Once we realize that excess motivation is an enemy of success, then we understand that it would be enough to relax. We must not remain attached to the almost maniacal desire for perfection, because this leads us to make avoidable mistakes. We should try to think positively by repeating for example phrases such as: "this is what I have managed to achieve now, tomorrow I will try to improve my skills." Success is not a goal but rather a journey made up of many stages, during which we will fall and we will get up, go back to the starting point and start again, but we will never allow the fear of failure to trigger the excess of motivation that will minimize our chances of succeeding.
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