Tag Archives: motivation

Questioning (Not Telling) Ourselves is the Best Call-to-Action

Thinking about whether we will do a task or not (“Will I…?”) rather than focusing on actually performing the task (“I will….”) has been shown to increase both the probability of us eventually undertaking the task and how successfully we will perform it.

The idea seems that “interrogative self-talk”, rather than declarative statements, leads to more internal motivation due to a greater feeling of autonomy.

Voter turnout in an election increased to 86.7% in people who had been asked to make a prediction about whether they would vote, compared to 61.5% in those who were not asked the question.

When a restaurant changed the receptionist’s script when taking a booking from ‘Please call if you have to cancel,’ to ‘Will you call if you have to cancel?’ the no-show rate dropped from 30% to 10%.

Professor Richard Cialdini attributes this effect to our need to act in ways that are consistent with our previously established views of ourselves. Asking ourselves questions that draw attention to our motivations force us to define who we are and what is important to us. Having defined these things, we have to act in accordance with them or face cognitive dissonance.

Those two anecdotes (voter turnout, restaurant cancellations) are taken from chapter 16 of Robert Cialdini’s Yes! (previously).

Will you tweet about this study?

via @cojadate

Olympic Motivation

Coming into the 400m semi-final at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Derek Redmond was the favourite to win the gold medal. However 150m into the race, Redmond’s hamstring snapped and his Olympic dream was shattered… but Redmond was determined to finish the race. The Guardian takes us through the emotional race, with commentary from Redmond.

‘Everything I had worked for was finished. I hated everybody. I hated the world. I hated hamstrings. I hated it all. I felt so bitter that I was injured again. I told myself I had to finish. I kept hopping round. Then, with 100 metres to go, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was my old man.’

Read the article before watching this video of the race.