A Lack of Motivation – Part 1

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Two weeks ago, I was engaged by a company to train it’s “under performing” sales staff. The key difficulty that they faced was a lack of motivation”. Now, I’ll be honest with you, the “lack of motivation” has always been the NO.1 issue that almost every company and everyone I know faces, even me! Now, to help sort out this problem, we need to first understand what “motivation” is and how the “lack of motivation” happens. Then and only then can we set out to address the “lack” gap in motivation.




So here we go….


Very simply put, motivation simply means MEANING, the meaning (motive) behind a specific activity, behavior or performance that a person has. When a person has HIGH QUALITY MEANINGS about a particular activity; meaning how he or she perceives it, understands it, values it as being highly inspiring and important for actualizing their highest and best intentions and which is a vision of what they are and want to be, then he or she is motivated. This meaning becomes his or her subjective “value construct” and is the incentive that incites, engages and moves them….MOTIVATION!


For example, Mother Theresa; the MEANING behind her endless social work of charity to anyone, regardless of their race, color or creed, was her vision of feeding the hungry and caring for the dying as her was to share in Jesus’ own  redemptive “work of love” for the least and the lost in the world. This was her “value construct” that incited, engaged and moved her, her Motivation!


“Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.”

- Tony Robbins


This MEANING then produces “motion”, propulsion, which pushes a person to take specific actionable steps, activities and behaviors which are intended to actualize their meaning. This produces PERFORMANCE. Putting it in another way, performance is driven by meaning; and it produces a DELIBERATE CHOICE to act in a certain way. Under “performance” we have strategies, techniques, and the accusation of skills and “know how”, etc. in order to generate the desired performance that actualizes the high quality, valuable and desirable meaning behind the outcome. This is the second “component” of motivation.


For example, the meanings behind Mother Theresa’s social work pushed her to PERFORM activities that were specifically designed to actualize her outcome. It included fund raising activities, the building of homes, hospitals, food centers, the recruitment of volunteers, etc. Without this component of “performance” of meaning, “motivation” is not motivation but mere pipe dreams or wishful thinking.  


“Words may show a man’s wit but actions his meaning.”

- Benjamin Franklin


Motivation has a third component; it is called EXPECTATION. The component of “expectation” plays a critical part in the fusion of meaning and performance in the motivation factor. Expectation here has three dimensions which are really about Self Efficacy:


a) Competency: How a person views his or her competency to effectively engage in an activity(s) or task, or learn and acquire the needed competency, and complete the activity or task it in order to attain the desired result. Here it has to do with task and skill mastery.


If a person believes that he or she does fulfill this competency expectation, then the planned desired activities will be attempted and actualized. On the other hand if he or she feels that they do not or unable to fulfill this competency, then the planned activities will not be successfully attempted or completed.


We find that people’s beliefs about their efficacy affect the sorts of choices they make in very significant ways. In particular, it affects their levels of motivation and perseverance in the face of obstacles. Most success requires persistent effort, so low self-efficacy becomes a self-limiting process. In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, strung together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life.”

-Albert Bandura


b) Autonomy: A person’s ability to be in control of his or her actions; self determined action. Again, if a person feels constricted, “tied up”, controlled and or inhibited, unable to have total control over their planned actions and creative expression, motivation will lack!   


“People who believe they have the power to exercise some measure of control over their lives are healthier, more effective and more successful than those who lack faith in their ability to effect changes in their lives.”

-Albert Bandura


c) Relatedness: To be able to fit in with others and be supported. Here the ability to “fit in” and to “be supported” can refer to a specific group of persons, individuals or even ones higher power. It provides the needed resources, in any means, way of form, that supports a person in acquiring their outcome. 


“Here is the basic rule for winning success. Let’s mark it in the mind and remember it. The rule is: Success depends on the support of other people. The only hurdle between you and what you want to be is the support of other people.”

-David Joseph Schwartz


For example, Mother Theresa not only had high quality meanings behind her outcome, she also believed in its intrinsic value and associated massive amounts of positive understandings, conclusions and intentions behind it. This then propelled her to plan and act out a set of detailed and specific activities that would actualize her outcome, the performance dimension of motivation.



Nevertheless, the above would not have materialized or withstood the test of time and challenges if she did not believe that she had the competency or would acquire the needed competency when the time came, to carry out the needed activities. Neither would it have materialized if she did not enjoy full autonomy to actualize her outcome or calling; hence the establishment of her own order of nuns! Finally she had availed to her self the needed support from others as well as her Higher Power, in a wide array of ways, means and forms, to enable her to realize her outcome and the meaning behind it!  This was the power of her self efficacy! 


‘People’s beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities. Ability is not a fixed property; there is a huge variability in how you perform. People who have a sense of self efficacy bounce back from failures; they approach things in terms of how to handle them rather than worrying about what can go wrong’

- Albert Bandura


Thus this synergy of “meaning, performance of meaning and expectation” produces MOTIVATION! These “three components” make up the Neuro Semantics and Neuro Linguistic Psychology/ Programming of motivation. 


‘Only a person strongly motivated by a belief will be liable to enter into and persist in an action. Why? Because belief is anchored in a need. Knowledge alone of a path or activity will not necessarily trigger action, because it is not anchored in a need of the individual’

-Reuven Feuerstein


Once we have understood this, we can address the problem of a “lack of motivation”.


If one has low or degraded levels of meaning and value for an outcome, obviously “motivation” will lack. On the other hand, when the desired activities, strategies and skills are not acquired and acted out for the desired outcome to be actualized, performance is affected and the outcome will be lost. Again, “motivation” will be lacking.


Finally if a person’s competency expectation is low (his self efficacy), if he or she lacks self determination and autonomy to be in control of his or her actions and is not supported in any way, form or means in his or her quest, “motivation” will wane and eventually be lost. It’ll never lead him or her to the “choice point” of decision and continuous sustained action to actualize an outcome.


“Strong, deeply rooted desire is the starting point of all achievement.”

-Napoleon Hill


So, with the information above, I do believe that you’ll be able to “self correct” any “lack of motivation” you experience in your career, relationships, business, management or leadership roles, in your spiritual life, etc. How? By analyzing and identifying the “gaps” in the different “components” of motivation and seeking to refresh, renew and refurbish your existing meanings, performance activities and standards and your self efficacy. All of which leads us to “choice point”: the decision to act and keep taking action to attain an outcome or the decision not to act or cease taking consistent action, leading us away from our outcomes.    


Are you willing to give it a go?



“I know that I have the ability to achieve the object of my Definite Purpose in life, therefore, I demand of myself persistent, continuous action toward its attainment, and I here and now promise to render such action.”

-Napoleon Hill


In the coming blog, PART TWO of A LACK OF MOTIVATION, I’ll cover THREE of the most common mental road blocks that sap our motivation, a major cause of a “lack of motivation.” They reside in the “Meaning”, “Performance” and “Self- Efficacy or Expectation” components of motivation.


Hope you enjoy this short clip from the movie “Have a little faith” about Henry Covington: the power of the meaning behind his performance to build and actualize his outcome to build a community and his self efficacy in his journey to the place he is and that he’ll hopes to get to. Be inspired!  




Be courageous enough to THINK DIFFERENTLY, to stretch beyond convention!


Think RADICALLY and stay committed to transcending, transforming and transferring value back to your world!


Catch new blogs fortnightly at let us know what you think below.


Conrad Rozario is the founder of Alchemy Resources, a cutting edge human potential and peak performance development company in Malaysia. He has more than 15 years experience in people development from the diverse fields of Sales, Marketing, Customer Engagement and Service, Business Management and Talent Development. He is a Certified & Licensed Neuro Semantics and Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP) Trainer from the International Society of Neuro –Semantics,USA, a Master Practitioner in Neuro Semantics and NLP (ISNS,USA) and a Language and Behavior Profiling for Coaching Practitioner.