iD magazine - - Body & Mind -

Heather Dorniden is in first place as she starts run­ning the sec­ond lap in the 600-me­ter race of the Big Ten Track and Field Cham­pi­onships in Min­neapo­lis. Sud­denly she stum­bles and falls down, and the other run­ners over­take her. The race seems lost. But the 21-year- old gets up and passes one ri­val after another— un­til she fin­ishes first. But how did Dorniden mo­ti­vate her­self to con­tinue run­ning, even though vic­tory seemed im­pos­si­ble? “Her great power was re­fo­cus­ing on the goal im­me­di­ately after the set­back and re­ori­en­tat­ing her­self,” says mo­ti­va­tion expert St­ef­fen Kirch­ner. The re­sult: The run­ner no longer focused on the win but rather on the run­ning. In fact, the lat­est stud­ies show: Non­stop fo­cus causes peo­ple to no longer per­ceive what’s around them, which leads to de­mo­ti­va­tion and in­ner empti­ness.

Benoît As­sou-ekotto isn’t en­joy­ing his job. It’s pure stress for him. He al­ready changed em­ploy­ers four times. Big ob­jec­tives? None. “I only work for the money,” says the 32-year-old. If you ac­cept the re­search of many men­tal train­ers and work-life coaches, As­souEkotto has pretty much bro­ken every mo­ti­va­tional rule—mak­ing a suc­cess­ful ca­reer im­pos­si­ble. But the fact is: Benoît As­souEkotto earns mil­lions of dol­lars for what he does. The top ath­lete plays soc­cer for Saint-éti­enne in France; he has also played for the Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur Foot­ball Club in the UK and com­peted in more than 150 Pre­mier League matches. So how could he come so far? There are thou­sands of cases sim­i­lar to As­sou-ekotto’s. They show: To date, there have been in­nu­mer­able myths about what sup­pos­edly mo­ti­vates us to per­form and suc­ceed—how­ever, on closer in­spec­tion, many turn out to be false. id has an­a­lyzed the lat­est sci­en­tific stud­ies and spo­ken with lead­ing ex­perts in the mo­ti­va­tional psychology field. On the fol­low­ing pages they will ex­pose 11 of the big­gest lies of mo­ti­va­tion and ex­plain why these strate­gies don’t work and re­veal which ones can ac­tu­ally help us.

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