Advertising

Last Updated on January 12, 2021

Positive Motivation vs Negative Motivation: Which One Is Better?

Advertising
Positive Motivation vs Negative Motivation: Which One Is Better?

Do you need thrust to climb the life-ladder?

I feel everyone needs it in a competition-driven world.

That brute force is nothing but motivation!

Do you strive for motivation? It doesn’t matter you take one big stride to pursue your dream career or a small step towards bowing down to a boring monotony; each move seeks it.[1]

Whether it’s an excelling professional career or a steady personal growth, motivation inspires every dimension. And if it’s missing, the absence can bury anyone down under.

But did you know there are two types of motivation- Positive Motivation and Negative Motivation?

Positive Motivation vs Negative Motivation

What Is Positive Motivation?

It’s a reward-based encouragement method.

Do you know what is the driving force of this motivational technique? It’s the imagination of possessions attached to success!

Whether it’s chocolate for scoring good marks or a raise after promotion; positive motivation is the catalyst that keeps the fire burning in your belly.

It could be the visualization of a bonus from the boss or foreseeing a smile on the face of a destitute. Irrespective of whether it’s a dream about a tangible materialistic possession or a zeal to attain an intangible divine feeling; expectation of any form of a reward is the drive of positive motivation.

Want to ride high on it? Just break your realistic goals into short-term targets. Set rewards when you achieve those little milestones.

Be it watching your favorite serial series on Netflix or a long drive with friends; make sure you treat yourself on every small achievement.

An immediate sense of accomplishment provides you the timely boost keeping you hungry and hopeful simultaneously.

What Is Negative Motivation?

It’s a punishment-based boosting method. Its drive seeps from the fear of failing anything and everything.

Advertising

It’s the driving force of some students who attend school just to fulfill the mandated attendance requirement. They know promotion to the subsequent class is impossible otherwise.

Unlike positive motivation, it’s a method in which an employee slogs because he’s afraid of his tyrannical boss.

It’s the motivational technique in which not the proud feeling after appreciation by the spectators but the fear of criticism by them motivate you to rehearse well for a stage appearance.

It works best in do or die situations where doing is the only way out. In fact, most of us have one such inspirational push in common:

We need to work hard to earn money which would otherwise deny us even the basic necessities for survival. And this fear keeps us rolling.

So yes, it’s a strong, intense and effective technique enabling you to accept the constant change.[2]

Which Type of Motivation Is Better?

Both positive motivation and negative motivation are opposite sides of a single coin.

When expecting rewards for success is your driving force, you excel on positive motivation. When the fear of punishment for failure is the thrust, you strive for negative motivation.

While the thought of achieving inspires positive motivation; its counterpart is driven by the thought of losing.

On which technique is better; I feel it depends- on the individual notions and the intensity of the situations.

For some people, positive motivation do wonders and in some situations, negative motivation creates magic.

We’ll assess a few practical illustrations to arrive at a conclusion on which type of motivation is better:

  • Suppose your motivational drive for a daily intense workout is you want to flaunt your tight abs in your upcoming beach vacation; you are riding high on positive motivation. And maybe your friend is a gym freak because he has six-pack abs. He fears if he doesn’t work out, he might lose his attractive body. Certainly, he’s is negatively motivated.
  • For some people, a luxurious lifestyle is a drive to work hard (positive motivation). And there is another set of individuals who work hard as they fear if they won’t, they might not afford bread today (negative motivation).

Allow me to relate to a presumption:

Suppose your boss agrees to promote you if you can make a lot of money in the upcoming project, it’s a reward-based positive motivation.

Advertising

And assuming he says that he will fire you if you fail in the upcoming project, it’s a punishment-based negative motivation.

So yes… both techniques play a vital role to make you strive, depending on variable situations.

While thinking about rewards and recognition is the demand of a certain situation; the other situation may seek an inclination towards the measures to escape punishments and criticisms. And that’s fine!

Still seeking a winner?

While both together are important; I feel the density of positive motivation should be in excess over its counterpart.

Let’s find out:

You know the level of motivation must always be head-high… right?

But did you ever introspect the intensity of which one?

When the raised level of positive motivation pumps up the energy levels, the elevated level of negative motivation can overburden you.

Let’s recall the scenario most of us have experienced.

As a student, when your parents promise a new bike if you do well in your exams; thinking about possession of a new bike kicks the endurance level.

And when your parents say they’ll cancel your vacation trip if you fail in your exams, the thought of losing on holidays infuses fear.

Now if I ask you which works better, giving an option, you won’t deny it’s the pleasure of achieving a bike and not the pain of losing a vacation which drives you more towards performing well.

That’s because it is pressure-free, stress-free, and the process is enjoyable. So in most cases, it’s the positive motivation winning!

Advertising

I am sure you love working under a smiling boss seeking your committed output offering incentives. And nobody likes to work their asses off for a frowning employer demanding efficiency by a threat of job firing.

Case Study: Which Type of Motivation Works Best for Me?

I’d like to share which type of motivation works best for me:

I am passionate about my blogging career. And trust me, it requires an immense level of dedication and energy to keep hanging on a broken branch against the strong flowing wind from the opposite direction.

While the fear of falling down encourages me to hold on, the anticipation of success drives me to climb up. Both are important to me depending upon the situation.

But yes, sometimes the negative motivation is tough to handle.

That apprehension of failure dents the quality of operation. Sometimes, everything seems dark and gloomy. The fear of losing shudders the self-confidence and esteem.

This leads to an observation:

If you have a long-term goal, accelerating only on negative motivation can be accidental. It might break you halfway.

If you have a weak enduring ability, the overdose of negative motivation can be dangerous.

Beware! It can be a gateway to negative emotions like sadness, frustration and of course fear. You may get affected to an extent it demotivates rather than motivating you.

If I ask you what motivates you to get out of your bed:

The excitement or the fear?

You won’t deny it’s the excitement; the reason is simple:

Excitement is a positive emotion- a byproduct of positive motivation. On the other hand, fear is a negative emotion- an extract of negative motivation.

Advertising

While excitement always keeps you on the hunt; trust me you cannot sail for too long pedaling your boat out of fear.

Here’s the bottom line:

Today’s fast and busy life is testing patience and self-belief. For that reason, motivation is important for everyone.[3]

On which type to choose, both are integral in their own unique way. It’s you who needs to consciously choose the one you feel can push you to success.

If you are blessed with the luxury to choose, I feel positive motivation is a safer option.

Obviously, if you see a lion far away in a jungle coming closer to you, no matter how drained your body is, you’ll run the fastest you ever ran. And that’s negative motivation working for you as you know what could happen if you stay there waiting for it.

I’m sure thereon, you’ll question yourself before choosing any of the motivation techniques.

Summing It up

The cornerstone of negative motivation is fear and the inception of positive motivation is a joy.

What I feel positive motivation should be the customary go-to method and negative motivation should be the last resort.

So my friend, when you know how to use rewards and punishments in the right way, it will seem as though reaching your goals is an inevitable outcome.

You decide whether you want to be joyfully pumped up or fearfully pushed… Good luck!

More to Boost Your Motivation

Featured photo credit: Ali Yahya via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Amanpreet Singh

Amanpreet Singh is a soulful blogger by passion and a mindful businessman by profession.

How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career How Do You Meditate? 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners Positive Motivation vs Negative Motivation: Which One Is Better? 10 Things to Do When You Think You’re Not Good Enough

Trending in Staying Motivated

1 The Psychology of Motivation: Why Is Motivation So Powerful? 2 What Is Incentive Motivation And Does It Work? 3 6 Friday Motivation Tips to Help You Stay Motivated 4 How to Improve Employee Motivation in the Workplace 5 20 All-Time Best Motivational Books to Inspire You

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on October 27, 2021

The Psychology of Motivation: Why Is Motivation So Powerful?

Advertising
The Psychology of Motivation: Why Is Motivation So Powerful?

Motivation is an important driving force in people’s lives. It can affect both minor and major aspects of your life. Oftentimes, one’s level of motivation—or lack thereof—can determine their level of success.

In this article, I will discuss the concepts of motivation and psychology and present six psychological motives that drive people. Moreover, I will present some tips on how you can get motivated and discuss reasons why motivation is so powerful. I will also add my thoughts from my world where motivation plays an important role: the world of athletics.

What Is Motivation?

Research indicates that motivation has many definitions. The Oxford Dictionary defines it in several ways:[1]

  • “The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a certain way.”
  • “The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.”
  • “Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behavior.”

We can conclude from these definitions that motivation is the driving force behind what we do and the key ingredient to accomplishing goals.

There are two primary types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is doing an activity to attain an outcome, usually a reward of some kind. On the other hand, intrinsic motivation is “an internal drive for success or sense of purpose.” Research states that the more effective of the two—the motivation that leads to the best results—is intrinsic.[2]

Kevin Kruse validated the value of intrinsic motivation when he wrote,

“Life is about making an impact, not an income.”

Stephen Covey said it a different way,

“Motivation is a fire from within. If someone tries to light that fire, chances are it will burn very briefly.”

What Is Psychology?

American Psychology defines psychology as “the scientific study of the mind and behavior.”[3] There are six insights that psychology has brought to us regarding the forces behind motivation.

  1. Money and rewards – Some people are driven to make as much money as they can so they can flaunt their wealth in their community. Others see money as a necessity to take care of their families.
  2. Desire to be the best – I believe that the key factor to be the best stems from a willingness to prepare. Michael Jordan and Tom Brady are prime examples of the 5P’s—”Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.”
  3. Helping others –  Albert Einstein said it best when he wrote, “I can think of no reason why we are here but to help others.”
  4. Power and fame – I think a great number of people who attain fame do not pursue it. They simply go to work, roll up their sleeves, attain fame, and remain humble.
  5. Recognition – Take it with a grain of salt. It can vanish quickly and permanently!
  6. Passion – I am from the same town as Rudy Ruettiger from the movie, “Rudy.” I do know Rudy well and I can say without hesitation that it was his passion that got him admitted into Notre Dame, to play football there, and to get his outstanding movie to the public.

Why is Motivation So Powerful?

I believe that the goal of extrinsic motivation is to get people to reach intrinsic motivation, which is a very powerful driving force. Below are the five main reasons why intrinsic motivation is so powerful.[4]

1. It Leads to Better Persistence

I can think of no worthwhile endeavor that I was involved with that was easy. Most accomplishments face obstacles and failure along the way. Persistent people beat them.

Persistent people develop a strong Failure Quotient (FQ). Losing is a part—and often a big part—of an athletic season. According to Stan Kellner in his book, Taking it to the limit with basketball-cybernetics: A revolutionary mind-training program for winning performance, those who do succeed in developing a strong FQ approach losing in two ways: learn from it or move on. Moving on may be the tougher of the two to accomplish, but it is essential for future success. An oft-used refrain in athletics is that you need to have a short memory—forget the failure and move on now.

2. It Enhances Engagement

In their research, Kuvaas and Dysvik found that “intrinsically motivated employees were more likely to be highly engaged and more involved in their work, as well as display a greater readiness to step up and take responsibility.”[5] People who step up to the plate get things done!

Advertising

All great athletes are motivated to work on their own. Very few people realize all the time they invest on their own. When Michael Jordan came back to the Chicago Bulls after his stint in baseball, he and the Bulls lost in the playoffs. He knew he had to get his basketball legs back, but he had signed to make the movie, Space Jam. So, he had an outdoor basketball court built on the movie property so he could practice between and after sets. Even the greatest basketball player ever still needed to practice on his own.

3. Intrinsically Motivated Learning Is More Effective

Hinton Zigler presented the power of learning succinctly when he wrote,

“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”

I have always believed great teachers do four things: they know their subject matter, they are organized, they teach with enthusiasm, and they care about their students in and out of the classroom. However, no matter how outstanding that teacher may be, if the student is not motivated to learn, he will not learn. In the last analysis, only one person is responsible for your body of work—you!

4. We Perform Better When Intrinsically Motivated

When we are intrinsically motivated, we strive for perfection in any task we take on. Vince Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, stressed the efficacy of perfection when he wrote,[6]

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”

Motivated people do find excellence and find it often.

Advertising

5. Intrinsically Motivated People Are More Likely to Stay

Motivated people stay with you through the tough times, but non-motivated people leave when times get tough.

When a new coach is hired to take over a program, they are often hired because the program has fallen on bad times—they are losing. There is a real possibility that it will take three to five years to turn the program around, and that is why new coaches are often given five-year contracts. Given this reality, the coach must recruit or draft talented players. However, that is not enough. They will also want to bring in players of character because they stick with you through the tough times.

5 Ways to Get Motivated

According to Kendra Cherry, there are certain psychological factors regarding motivation that you can use to your advantage. She claims that these psychological techniques can help you feel more motivated in life.[7] Below are five ways to get motivated.

1. Use Incentives Carefully

Be cautious with rewards. She emphasized that we should not compliment someone for being smart or athletic—instead, compliment them for the effort they make to be smart or athletic.

In addition to complimenting someone for their effort, we took it one step further. We found that a good number of people could give great effort on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday but could not reach down and find that same effort on Thursday and Friday. So, we told our athletes that effort is not enough and that the difference between good and great is the consistency of effort. The great ones can find the best they have to give daily. None of us have our “A Game” every day, but the great ones consistently find their best.

2. Introduce Challenges

It often seems to me that the challenges I have been most apprehensive about have been the best things I have ever done. I have traveled overseas to present basketball camps and speak at clinics. I certainly found this work challenging. I wanted to give presentations that would be valuable to the players and coaches, and I was nervous. The one thing I found that helped me get through nervousness was preparation. I spent a great deal of time preparing for these challenges.

3. Don’t Visualize Success

This goes against the modern theory of visualization. The usual concept is to see yourself doing the activity successfully. Instead, Cherry believes that you should visualize the steps it will take to achieve success.

Advertising

I do not necessarily agree with her on this premise for motivation. I believe in visualization—you should see the goal, the end result. Shooting free throws in basketball is a great time to visualize. I believe seeing the ball going through the net is more important than trying to break down all the steps to get to that objective. Visualize the success.

4. Take Control

Cherry does not promote trying to dominate a project. She does, however, promote ascertaining how you can contribute to the success of the project.

Most projects you undertake necessitate teamwork, and it is important to understand that you are part of a team and that your main goal is to contribute to the team’s success. In athletics, we look at this concept a little differently. We want the team to develop the “Disposition to Dominate.” It is still about the team, but we want the team to dominate.

5. Focus on the Journey, Not the Outcome

In athletic competition, you want the outcome to be victory, but your focus cannot be on the victory. Your focus must be on the process it will take to get the victorious outcome. If you fail to concentrate on the things you must do to achieve success, you will never arrive at a successful conclusion.

Final Thoughts

The psychology of motivation gives us insights into the kind of mindset we need for us to excel in life. Those who pursue perfection leading to excellence are the most powerful and productive people in any organization. They don’t need extrinsic motivation because they are driven internally—it’s in their DNA.

More Tips on Gaining Motivation

Featured photo credit: Quino Al via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next