Science of Motivation: "Will I" vs "I Will"

Last updated on Jun 1, 2010

Posted on Jun 1, 2010

Testosterone oriented motivational paradigm believes that if we tell ourselves something we are most likely to succeed.  But is that how it all works?

Study by University of Illinois Professor Dolores Albarracin and Visiting Assistant Professor Ibrahim Senay, supported by Kenji Noguchi, Assistant Professor at Southern Mississippi University says that those who ask themselves if they would succeed do better than those who tell themselves.

Professor Albarracin’s team suspected that it was related to an unconscious formation of the question “Will I” and its effects on motivation. By asking themselves a question, people were more likely to build their own motivation.  In a follow-up experiment, participants were once again parsed into the “I will” and “Will I” categories, but this time were then asked how much they intended to exercise in the following week. They were also made to fill out a psychological scale meant to measure intrinsic motivation. The results of this experiment showed that participants not only did better as a result of the question, but that asking themselves a question did indeed increase their intrinsic motivation.

After all it may be better to ask permission from “your self” if the work is likely to succeed than forcefully telling yourself.   Personally, I feel intuitively that pepping yourself up by constantly telling yourself about your success should be a better way to succeed in the mission.  But then that is the traditional “wisdom” we have all been brought up on.

What has been your experience?

Reference Links

Will We Succeed? The Science of Self-Motivation

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