Motivational Capacity: What Factors Are Involved In It?

Motivational capacity

It can be observed with increasing frequency how the current fast pace of life is causing interference both in personal development and in the academic follow-up that some schoolchildren (and also applicable to some adults) are capable of carrying out today.

This functioning that has been acquired in the last two decades based on immediacy seems to be influencing two very relevant aspects that condition the process of emotional maturation of the little ones: the ability to tolerate frustration and the level of motivation to achieve goals proposals.

Both phenomena have a mutual influence, that is, the low ability to accept that sometimes certain events take place in a way different from previous expectations, causes negative effects on the ability to get excited and interested in trying to achieve that goal again or setting out to do something. new, and vice versa. In this article we will focus on seeing what they are the factors involved in motivational capacity.

The misuse of new technologies and its effect on motivation

As we have seen, a high level of amotivation implies a perception of low ability to achieve a goal or overcome a difficulty, which increases the level of frustration that the person feels.

On the other hand, it should be noted that both aspects intrinsically entail the personal competence of strive to achieve something and maintain that effort over the long term.

Therefore, an accelerated functioning, where by system you must attend to so many simultaneous stimuli (doing your homework while having a snack and checking your cell phone to ask what exercises should be done for math class, while listening to background TV, for example) is not facilitating the ability to dedicate more extensive and exclusive time to a specific objective or task to be carried out effectively.

Studies corroborate that imbalances in both skills can lead to a low level of self-esteem, the appearance of an insecure personal style or even leading to academic failure.

For all these reasons, as educators, it seems necessary to clarify a series of keys and measures that could be efficient to reverse or at least limit the harmful effect that this era of digital and technological revolution is generating in the motivation and tolerance to the frustration that it presents. the child and youth population today.

You may be interested:  The 5 Types of Happiness, and How to Achieve This State

The motivation

The phenomenon of motivation can be defined as the set of factors that drive a person to act in a certain way and with a specific effort.

It is the main engine that allows the acquisition of new learning and is characterized by its clear internal nature, being the result of the combination between cognitive aspects (thoughts) and affective aspects (emotions and feelings), although it is the result of interaction. between the individual and the experiences he receives from the environment.

According to Maslow’s approaches in his Theory of Need (1943), motivation is understood as a need that behaviorally drives the individual to act. This author proposed a hierarchy of needs, starting from the basic or survival needs (physiological) until reaching those of personal growth (self-realization). Based on these postulates, the author stated that the lower needs must first be satisfied and move towards the higher ones.

Some might argue for the conclusion that motivation for academic learning and knowledge in general, for example, would occupy an advanced place in the pyramid, since it could not be conceptualized as a physiological, security, social or esteem need. Perhaps this idea explains the reason why the motivational capacity for knowledge does not occupy a priority position in some young people, especially when such learning is perceived as abstract, with little functional logic. or lacking practical application by the students.

Variables involved in motivational capacity

As mentioned above, motivation is mediated by different factors that can influence how it develops in each individual. First of all, it is worth differentiating between two key concepts:

Intrinsic motivation (IM) is defined by the set of goals that the person sets for himself due to a self-perception of positive competence and internal self-determination (for example, “I am going to try hard in training because I am passionate about basketball and I feel very good seeing my progress” ).

Extrinsic motivation (ME) is more linked to the achievement of external rewards (for example, “if I pass the school year, my parents will reward me with the latest model of mobile phone”) or avoidance of punishments.

Deci was one of the first authors to make this differentiation, arguing that the first type of motivation is the one that has the greatest power or weight in the achievement of personal goals, since it is characterized by a deeper approach to the concept of motivation.

Thus, it has been possible to demonstrate the existence of a high correlation in people who present MI with respect to They focus their attention on the process instead of the result.who understand errors as natural phenomena and not as failures and who show preferences for tasks that are challenging instead of those that are more accessible and require less effort.

You may be interested:  Extracurricular Activities: Why Are They Important and How to Choose Them Correctly?

The motivational dimensions

On the other hand, according to what was provided by Weimer’s Attribution Theory (1971) and later reformulated by Seligman (1984), there are three motivational dimensions that will be decisive in how the person will configure the perception of their individual objectives.

The locus of control It is the first, and is understood by the type of cause to which the individual attributes a certain action or situation. This can be internal (“I passed because I studied a lot”) or external (“I passed because the exam was easy”). The influence that the realistic internal locus of control has on the degree of individual intrinsic motivation seems clear.

Secondly we have stability, defined as the capacity for modification that the cause of the event has. This can be stable (or unmodifiable, “it is impossible to pass mathematics”) or unstable (or modifiable, “even though it is difficult for me, I know that it is possible to pass mathematics”). In this second aspect, a fact perceived as modifiable seems to correlate more with the level of MI.

Finally, the degree of control of the event, which can be classified as non-controllable (“no matter how much I study, I will not pass the exam”) or controllable (“if I study more, I will be able to pass the exam”). If the person has a high degree of control over the event, it is more likely that the level of internal motivation will also be increased.

From this we can draw the relevance of transmitting educational values ​​and styles that are aimed at promoting greater intrinsic motivation, as well as the habit of attributing one’s own behavior, both successful and erroneous, that tends to a balanced locus of control between the internal and external dimensions, a certain unstable nature of the events and a degree of realistic control over such behavior.

On the contrary, when the person tends to make an extreme assessment of their failures, attributing them to totally internal, stable and permanent causes, precipitates the appearance of a state of learned helplessness. This phenomenon is defined as a perception of low competence, demotivation and hopelessness that distances the individual from achieving the proposed goals, since it internalizes that situations and results occur independently of their behavior.

Practical guidelines to promote motivational capacity

From what has been stated so far, a series of practices that can be useful to educators, both in the academic and family contextsin order to promote the acquisition of a set of personal resources that favor the internalization of a satisfactory individual motivational capacity within the child and youth group.

A democratic, dialogic and empathetic educational style

It allows understand the difficulties and particularities of the minorwhere you are able to value the effort invested in each established objective, no matter how small it may be.

You may be interested:  Why Does an Adult Child Reject His/her Mother? 4 Reasons Behind 'rage' Against Mother

On the contrary, authoritarian, demanding and results-focused profiles will generate a state of pressure, insecurity and a low level of self-esteem and the perception of self-competence.

The established goals must be short-term, attainable and realistic.

For this, it is necessary carefully consider the point from which the subject startsin order not to present excessively ambitious objectives that favor the appearance of frustrated prior expectations.

Active participation of the subject himself in the assessment of progress

Is a fundamental type of positive reinforcement that will provide the person with a continuous dose of reward and individual satisfaction. Thus, it is very beneficial to keep a record of the progress achieved periodically (daily, weekly, monthly).

The content that represents the stated objective

As indicated above, must be perceived as useful, practical and even attractive to the individual.

It seems that the level of motivation decreases in the face of abstract or highly theoretical methodologies that do not sufficiently involve the recipient in their learning process. This element is key, since it also favors a higher rate of attention and concentration on the proposed task.

Establishing limits on the use of technological devices

Its removal during work sessions in order to avoid constant interruptions is important, given that will significantly facilitate the level of attention to the task at hand.

The close link between attentional ability, personal performance and the motivational aspect has already been indicated previously. Therefore, the higher the level of concentration, the greater the perception of positive performance and, ultimately, higher MI rates.

In conclusion

As has been seen in the text, the lifestyle maintained today is having a significant impact on the perception that an individual develops about his or her ability to achieve personal goals (academics or professionals), especially if they are children and adolescents, who are in the full stage of maturation and individual growth.

It seems essential, from the perspective of educational agents, to guide young people to combat the numerous inertias that this immediate digital and technological era is causing in the development of certain psychological competencies, such as motivation and tolerance for frustration. Such social inertias hinder the fact of focusing on non-quantitative, non-competitive aspects or on goals that require a more long-term effort.

Thus, focusing more on being aware and valuing in a more active and careful way the involvement made during the process instead of the result, promoting a more sequential and not simultaneous and accelerated lifestyle, cooperating and having a more collective and generous vision instead Focusing exclusively on individualistic interests, and accepting that obtaining a result different from the expectations generated does not imply failure but rather a learning opportunity, can ultimately promote the level of personal motivation when setting one’s own goals.

Bibliographic references: