The Locus Rule of Self-Motivation

Motivation is something that is often considered a result of external factors. Little consideration is given to the fact that your motivation levels depend more on your internal factors than on the external ones. Earlier when we covered 10 life-changing motivational techniques a lot of you asked us to share some case study or scientific study that lets us understand the art motivation to its core.

So, we heard you and today we’ll be covering an interesting psychological study that was conducted at Columbia University back in 1998. The study was conducted by professor Claudia M. Muller. To avoid biases and prejudices, she took in 5th-grade students for the study.

So, let’s get started by discussing how you can stay motivated with this simple technique called the Locus Rule of Self-Motivation.

The Locus Rule Self Motivation

The study by Professor Claudia conducted at Columbia University in 1998 made two separate groups out of a larger group of 5th-grade students. She later gave both the groups some really challenging puzzles. Both the groups did pretty well and completed the puzzles almost at the same time. However, now comes the catch, she told one group of students that the reason they solved these puzzles was that they worked hard, and separately, the other group was told that it was their smart-minds that were able to solve the puzzles on time.

The idea was to check their motivation levels for future puzzles after the conditioning that was done. Both the groups were given 3 new puzzles with appreciating difficulties. From easy to medium to hard.

The most interesting thing happened when the results of the two groups were checked, it was found that the students that were told they were smart spent little to no time trying to solve the medium and hard level puzzles and spent all their time on the easy and fun puzzles. This was when their low levels of motivation were noted. Also, when asked if they enjoyed solving the puzzles or not, almost unanimously they all said they hardly had any fun solving the puzzles.

Now, on the other hand, the students who were told they were hard workers and they solved the puzzles in the previous challenge because they worked hard were telling a different story. Not only they were more zealous after the second challenge, they actually spent most of their time solving the difficult level puzzles and hardly lost their enthusiasm. Also, they told the Professor about how they felt amazing solving all these awesome puzzles. This clearly indicated their increased motivation levels.

What to Learn from Locus Rule of Motivation?

What we learn from the locus rule of self-motivation is the fact that what we believe about our capabilities contributes to our levels of motivation big time. A person who is more self-confident and believes in his abilities will have higher levels of motivation. However, someone with a bad self-image loses motivation like anything. So, what we learn is that the students who thought that they were more in control of the outcomes of any situation generally had higher levels of motivation.

Final thoughts on How to stay motivated using the Locus Rule

We conclude that having an internal locus of control is the key to stay motivated. You must believe in yourself and that you control things around you and are responsible too. The external locus of control kills you because you blame the world that it is conspiring against you. So, build-up belief in yourself and not give credit to the outside factors as it will lead you to demotivation.

We believe that you must believe in yourself and keep working towards your self-growth and practice 100% accountability for your actions. If you blame the world for your actions or give the credit of anything good that you do to external factors, you are setting yourself on-course to low self-motivation levels all the time.

So, we would recommend that you start working on yourself and start a fundamental change in the way you see the world around you if you want to be anything close to a great man.


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