Motivation and Competence

Summary: “Help people master things that are important to them if you want to help motivate them.”  

Humans possess an innate desire to master things that are important to them. Therefore, if you want to create a motivational environment for another person, find out what is important to him or her and then find ways to help them increase their level of competence with regard to that particular area of interest.

You can guess at what is important to others, you can certainty ask them, or you can encourage them to visit and complete the free questionnaire called the VIA Survey of Character Strengths (look under the drop-down menu for Questionnaires at the top of the page). The survey ranks twenty-four cross-cultural strengths, or areas of strong interest, in order of importance to the person completing the questionnaire.

After the person you are helping, leading, managing, parenting, etc. completes the questionnaire; pay close attention to the top three to five strengths. See if you can create as much alignment as possible between their top strengths and their daily activities.

In my case, my number one strength is “love of learning” and my second strength is “curiosity and interest in the world.” Of course, ongoing learning is a significant part of my daily routine (personally and professionally) and fits quite well with the results of my survey.

Find ways to align a person’s activities with his or her character strengths and watch intrinsic motivation kick in and create positive outcomes.

Start the process by taking the survey yourself and determining what you can do to trigger your intrinsic motivation. It’s a great way to joyfully participate in life.

Joyfully participate in life today…Chris

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