After a few more empty minutes, LONG ones may I say, I take out the giant bag of Tropical Skittles (they just taste better!) that is hiding in my teacher's catch-all, and I ask the question again, this time using a different approach, “what would you do if I told you I would give you 5 skittles if you could tell me what your favorite subject to learn about it is?” Well, you can guess what usually happens next. 24 of the 26 hands shoot into the air, so fast I have to back up to avoid the rush of energy from the quick movements. Before I call on students and begin handing out candy, I announce, “Boy! You sure are a motivated bunch! It seems you all were very excited to answer the question!” with a smile. We all know what really happened, they saw the candy and had to have some.
Now, then, I ask you. What is motivation? At least what does it mean to you? In Behavioral Psychology, motivation is the WHY behind the movement, choice, action, and even words, that we do at any given point or moment in time. Motivation is the thing that drives us and continues to push us to reach a goal or desired behavior. In the case with my students, it was clear that when they saw the Skittles they were motivated to share their thoughts with me and the rest of the class. In most cases this is true for all of us actually. We are all motivated by one thing or another, and what that looks like is different for all of us. When I was in college to get my MA in Educational Psychology, it was my desire to grow for myself that motivated me. I wanted to be a better teacher, and hopefully one day have the opportunity to use my background to help motivate others. On the other hand, don’t kid yourself, I also knew that the more education I had the more money I could make-this all came into play in part of my drive in the first place. Motivation, though, was only half of it-the other half was my driven desire to succeed. I had to endure, suffer through long nights, work extra shifts, write and rewrite 15 page papers, read fine-print, picture-less, sometimes endless, textbooks, lose time with my loved ones, and climb out of bed every morning knowing that this was my life for almost 18 months, all while potty training 2 young children. What then, you may ask me, was it that drove me to want this in the first place? Wasn’t sanity, for one, enough of a reason to perhaps stop me from continuing?
Although the topic of motivation itself, and everything it entails, is extensive and probably unnecessary to go into right now, or NEVER, there is something that, if you are reading this, may help you find what you are looking for in order to motivate yourself; it is a short set of rules that worked and continues to work for me.