Even The Illusion Of Progress Increases Motivation

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Human life is constantly moving forward. Thus, this process consists of an unstoppable cycle of overcoming problems, getting the best results, and developing ourselves. So, here is one of the most important things in this process. What influences on our activities and behaviour? There is one way to stay productive and handle everything with ease – it is motivation and if you lack it, you may face issues. If we will think of it – any action or inaction has its own motive.

So, to communicate better with each other, to understand the people and ourselves, we should talk about what self-motivation is. To deal with this, we need to understand the process of positive focus’ formation and motivation techniques.

So, what is motivation? Currently, this concept is understood by different scientists in different ways – from the thousand opinions, we marked an important one. It says that this is a set of processes responsible for purposes and human activity. Others define this as a set of motives. A motive is a material object, the achievement of which is the meaning of an activity. It is presented to the person in the form of specific experiences which can be characterized by positive motivation or emotions. The achievement of this subject, or negative, connected with dissatisfaction in the present situation. To realize the motive you want to do serious inner work.

The motive is may be confused with the human need or purpose. What’s the difference? The needs are a subconscious desire to eliminate discomfort, and the goal is the result of a conscious process of goal setting. For example, we can take a hunger. Hunger is a need; the desire to eat is a motive. And in this way, the food is the goal. This is a complex psychological phenomenon, with which its diversity is associated.

And What Is The Illusion Of Progress?

Let’s consider on the example with a next situation. In a local café, you were given a card of a regular customer. Every time you buy coffee, you get a stamp. When the card is full, you will get a Cup with a logo of this cafe for free. Consider two different scenarios:

  • Card A: there are 10 squares for stamps on the card, and when you get it, they are all empty
  • Card b: there are 12 squares for stamps on the card, and when you get the card, two are already stamped.

How long will it take you to fill out the card? Will it happen faster under scenario A or B? After all, you have to buy 10 cups of coffee in both cases to get one for free. So if it’s a difference, what card do you use?

Apparently, the answer is Yes, it is. You fill out card b faster than A. This is “goal-gradient” effect.

For the first time it was studied by Clark hull in 1934 on rats. He found that rats run faster through a maze of food than towards the end of the maze where the cheese is.

The goal-gradient effect says that you accelerate your activity as you get closer to the goal. The scenarios that were described above were part of a study by Ren Rivets, Oleg Urminsky, and Yuhuang Zheng. They decided to see if people would behave like rats… And the answer is Yes.

This is some important things about the effect of getting closer to the goal:

  1. The smaller the distance to the goal, the higher the motivation of people.
  2. You can get more motivated even by the illusion of progress as in scenario B. There’s actually no progress there. You still have to buy 10 cups of coffee. And look as if there is progress, so the effect is the same.
  3. People like to participate in reward programs. Compared to customers who did not participate in them, customers with prize cards smiled more often, talked more with the staff of the cafe, more often thanked and left feedback.
  4. In a related experiment, the same researchers showed that people more often go to the site and vote for the songs, the closer they are to the prize goal of the site. Thus, the effect of approximation to the goal is generalized for many situations.
  5. Motivation and sales fall as soon as the goal is achieved. This is called the “post-prize drop phenomenon.” Immediately after the reward is achieved this is the riskiest moment when you can lose a customer.

Suppose you have two levels of rewards. People, having received the first award, reduce interest, and then again activate their attempts when they begin to approach the second award.