In 8th grade I was passed over for an advanced class that most of my friends were put into. Ironically, not being seen as one of the “smart” students was what motivated me to be a really good student in high school. My motivation was fear. I was simply afraid – afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my friends, afraid I would flunk tests. I was so fearful that if I didn’t know EVERYTHING I would fail and probably overly prepared for every test. What is surprising to me now, is that even though I did very well on tests, I never developed enough confidence to relax a bit and not spend all my time studying.
Pain and Fear Motivates.
Turns out, according to science, the secret to maintaining motivation might actually be more counterintuitive than we originally thought.*
“When we first embark on a task to achieve a goal–like losing weight, for example–we first focus on the positive outcomes. We’ll be able to feel lighter, more confident, and get new clothes. Yet, what really pushes people to effective, consistent action isn’t necessarily focusing on the potentially happy ending that could come from our actions. It’s thinking about the potentially negative outcome–not being able to wear clothes that you barely fit into now, not being able to look good for a certain event on your mind–that get us thinking about concrete steps we can take to actually achieving our goals.”