ATTITUDE & MOTIVATION
Scribbled on the back of the cheque I was paid on my last assignment were the words “attitude & motivation talk”. It was probably written by the accountant or paying officer. I suppose this is what accountants do to remind themselves of what all the cheques they write are for, but during that one hour talk I had given my focus was never “attitude”. During my presentation, I believed that I was working the staff into “motivation”. I found the twining of both motivation and attitude extremely interesting. Basic definitions of the two words tell me that they are not the same thing.
People appreciate that root definition of both words (attitude & motivation) is behaviour. We all interpret attitude and motivation based on how people behave. On one hand, this is good and on the other, we lose something in the mix up. Putting together the two is good because it tells me that we can all do something about our attitude. It is not a fixed trait like the length of your arm or the even the length of your tongue. If you want to change your attitude, go to the root. Change your behaviour and people will appreciate that you have changed. However, behaviour is also an expression of motivation. But here is where the interpretation can be highly deceptive. People can behave in exactly the same manner for a variety of reasons.
Motivation is a “sustained purposeful drive”. Motivation can remain alive even after achieving a goal. Motivation is simply redirected after the goal. Motivation can be indicated by the passion with which a person may pursue something, but it is really quite independent of it. I will go as far as saying I do not have to make a show of my level of motivation to prove to you that I am indeed motivated. Attitudes change and are influenced by knowledge and understanding. In most cases attitude needs to be displayed to be interpreted. Though attitudes can change dramatically, Motivation is built up and confirmed by consistency.
I have seen many people excitedly start a new project and drop it when the going gets a little trying. Such people had the correct attitude, but not enough motivation to sustain their initiative. Many football teams celebrate after scoring the first goal of the match. Some teams go on to believe they have won the match after the first goal only to be defeated in the end by a team that is more determined to succeed.
Motivation is an asset that each of us builds up. It is one of the secrets of success that enables you to try, and try, and try again. Behaviour influences attitude, but motivation influences behaviour. If you do not invest in your motivation, your attitude will remain shifty and you will experience an average level of success in whatever you set out to do. The motivation is not built up by believing in yourself rather it is created by exercising your potential. That is why it is important to try and keep trying. Every time you try something, you invest in your motivation and stretch your potential to new limits. Eventually it is enough to help you move along and succeed to reach your goals.
Attitude is often determined by external conditions and circumstances hence the vacillating nature of our attitudes. Motivation is personal conviction. It has nothing to do with an unfair jail sentence or current circumstances or even environmental conditions. It has everything to do with your personal choices, goals and desires in life.
The one great stimulant of motivation is purpose. It is hard to find a motivated person without a goal. A person without goals not only suffers an immense loss of purpose but also experiences a significant loss in self-esteem. A person with a low self-esteem is significantly affected by feelings and driven by attitude and external circumstances. A person with a purpose seeks to improve on the facts despite the circumstances – even if the fact is failure.
Motivation is so powerful that even failure cannot stand in the face of it. Motivation is not a feeling neither is it an overt expression of force or even dominance. It is often a silent consistent effort, determination and stick-to-it-iveness that keeps one making progress and on the path to the goal. A person who is not motivated may have a lot of feeling and great attitude but will lack the power to make progress.
This is your chance to exploit a great storehouse of power availed to you by decisive, determined, diligent, disciplined directed use of your potential. Everyone has potential, but few people exercise it as much as they could. If everyone has potential then we are all capable of developing motivation and using it to empower us in whatever we do. Motivation and attitude, as we have seen, are two different things. You can use behaviour to get to your attitude. My challenge to you is to examine and use your potential to get to your Motivation. Examine your capacity & options, ability & opportunity and work to realizing your full potential. It could be the most dramatic life changing decision you will ever make. You can make a good impression with a great attitude, but you can accomplish a great deal with a little more motivation.
Allan Bukusi, 2006