I once took a leadership training class, and the most valuable lesson I learned was the key to what motivates people. It’s actually very simple. There are three components, and how motivated you are is a result of multiplying all 3. Not a sum, but multiplication. Which means that if any of the three components is 0, then the end result is also zero. Here are the three components:

  1. How much you want the reward: For any tasks that you are motivated to do, there must be some reward that you want. Reward could be money, could be a pat on the back, could be anything. But it has to be something that you want.
  2. How much you trust the reward will come, if you finish the task: A lot of times, rewards in life are not guaranteed. If your boss says you “MAY” get a raise if you work harder and if the company does well, then you are likely only somewhat motivated. But if your boss says, finish this task and you will get a raise and you believe what he says, that’d be much more motivating.
  3. How confident you are in your ability to finish the task that you need to finish: Confidence is a significant driver of motivation. If someone tells you he will give you a million dollars if you can run 100 meters in 8 seconds, you’re not going to be too motivated even if you fully trust the reward is true. The world record is 9+ seconds, no matter how hard you train, it’ll be unlikely for anyone to come under 8 seconds.

There it is, 3 simple rules. Next time if you or someone else is not motivated to accomplish a task? Think about which component(s) is missing, and how you can address those issues.


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