CogniFit's Science blog: Training The Brain To Motivate Yourself

Training The Brain To Motivate Yourself

Motivation is a force that drives each individual to a goal. It brings self-reward for a job or task well done, and represents our own internal incentive to do more and better each day. It is possibly the single biggest factor that makes the world move forward.

There’s a lot of literature, advices and analysis on what drives and increases motivation – in the broad sense of the word. Motivation is much more important than the drive for efficiency or the drive for productivity; it has a social effect on happiness. Motivated people are happier. For this alone, learning how to use our brain to motivate is an objective in itself. It is one of the many ways for neuroscience to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life.

It isn’t an easy objective however. Note that if it was easy, everyone would find their own way to get motivated and stick to it. That would contribute to their own happiness at work or in their personal life. No, it’s not easy. But it is possible to train your brain to motivate itself.

There are basically two concepts for motivation: one that focuses on the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation; a second one focusing on self-control motivation. The intrinsic motivation is one that is driven by an interest and joy in the task itself – it can be defined as motivation by pleasure. Intrinsic motivation is especially strong in people with higher educational achievement. The extrinsic motivation, under the same concept, is one that comes from the outside. This is probably the most commonly referred type of motivation, and includes areas like rewards, coercion or punishment, competition, recognition. Those are not linked to the enjoyment in the task, but rather motivation brought from others.

A much more interesting area of study is the so-called self-control motivational concept. Rather than being focused on something each individual doesn’t control (the enjoyment in a task, or the outside rewards), the self-control motivation can be influenced by the individual. In fact this is increasingly being understood as a subset of emotional intelligence. Someone who has a stronger emotional intelligence will more likely be able to dedicate certain energy and drive to specific tasks and goals, thus achieving self-motivation.

Achieving a control over the motivation is mind training that everyone should be able to get. It relates to the ability to change your brain to your needs, and better achieve your goals. At the end, it is important not to expect other to motivate you, but to be able to do it on your own. Be motivated, be happy!