One of my clients was on the phone and twittering to me recently about giving up Cigarettes for the new year as a lot of people do.All contact went quiet a day or two after new years and I thought to myself, well that’s that, there is no way she has given them up.On the phone today she explained to me that she had decided not to go off them on new year as it did not suit her, but she did some days later and that she was having no problems at all.She loved her ciggies and up to now could not give them up, today she was very relaxed and you could here it in her voice when she spoke.
This got me thinking about addictions or habits and why some people can give up a number of times and fail, but on the last time it is not a bother to them at all.Also what makes somebody better at something than somebody else.Reading thru all the research that is available to us the only real contender for an explanation in called Intrinsic Motivation.
What is Intrinsic Motivation, well it means ” of ones self” which means it has to come from within you.You have to want to do something, your desire is to achieve your goal.In England in th early to mid seventies a controlled experiment was carried out in a school for kids by a guy called Leppard.He went in and asked the kids to play games with maths as the games theme.He did this for a number of weeks and made it fun for the kids to part take.After a couple af weeks he split the class in two and starting rewarding one half of the class with prizes for part taking and gave nothing to the other half except the fun.After another couple of weeks he withdrew the prizes from the half they had been giving them to.Then he went back to the original set up of rewarding the whole class with only the fun element.
What happen was that the half who had their rewards withdrawn stopped part taking nearly completely and the other half played away no problem,why?The theory is that the kids who had receive no rewards were doing the maths for the fun or enjoyment of it where as the kids who had been given the rewards felt hard done by when the rewards were withdrawn and felt they had no reason to bother with maths as there was no reward.Well I have to say I would not be impressed either if my rewards were taken off me for doing what I do.
Doing something for the love of it is a saying we have all heard at one time or another.Dedicated people doing volunteer working with deprived people for little or no pay, are intrinsically motivated, why else would they do it?People who excel are always motivated by their inner self the enjoyment of doing the job to the best of their ability or taking part in a sport because of the challenge involved.What makes a golfer go from being an amateur to being a professional.Well it is thats persons desire to achieve and become the best they can be.Sure the rewards come thick and fast but if you listen to the best golfers and sports people it is not about the money.It is about being the best they can be and that is their only motivation.When Tiger Woods was growing up practising to become a champion he was not imagining the final putt to win the US Open as the putt to win one million dollars.It was to be the Champion of all America that was his motivation.Sure he will not hand back the cheque but it is an aside.
Getting back to my client and her ciggies, why was she not struggling with her addiction when she went cold turkey.Here is my theory,firstly by not going off them on new years was not taking orders from tradition.Secondly after a few days when she did go off them it was on her terms not anybody elses.This is key, the intrinsic motivation was hers and hers alone.The decision was an internal one and made only when it suited her.A lot of people go off things on new year because they are told that is the right time to do so,the traditional time to do it and they usually last all of two days because they are not motivated in the right way.
This situation can be brought into all parts of your life, you can equate it to your job, your family life your marriage,your relationships and so on.If your are an intrinsically motivated individual you will be a success at what ever you choose to do.This is not just my opinion if you look around you at people you know because you do not have to be Tiger Woods to be successful.You could be the coach of the local football team, the person who runs meals on wheels in your area.Its does not matter,but that you are happy doing what ever it is you are doing.
Therefor to achieve anything in life you must love what you do, or you must be motivated to be the best you can be in doing the job you do.If you have that it will make life so much easier for you because you will always measure yourself against your own standards and not anybody else’s.