How to Get 10% More Motivation in One Step

How to Increase Motivation by 10% (or More)

Let’s face it: We’re lazy creatures.

Sometimes we just need a boost.

Motivation makes life a lot easier. And fun(ner).

Like motivating yourself to ‘practice’ piano (pieces you know you should play but don’t feel like playing)…

Or motivating students to practice piano.

… Or losing weight, or anything else.

Things we put off for days, months, even years.

What if I tell you…

It just takes one step to increase anyone’s motivation by 10% (or more).

Yes, you can motivate your students (even very young ones) to practice piano with this.

Read on and I’ll show you how.

Is There “Bad Motivation”?

In a word, yes.

Chances are, if you’re unmotivated, then you’ve fallen to ‘bad motivation’.

Have you ever prepared a piece just for a certain exam?

When the exam ended, did you still feel like playing that piece? In fact, did you play that piece anytime soon after the exam?

Probably not. If you’re like most people, then the piece will probably annoy you by then.

This has happened to me (plus tons of students) again and again.

It’s almost an inside joke amongst some teachers and adjudicators:

Anything that’s prepared just for an exam or performance will be “ruined”. It’s an unfortunate side effect of exams and performances.

The grade that we get becomes the reward that we work towards.

And any time there’s what I call a ‘reward motivation’, we’ll work for the reward only.

When the reward’s gone, there’s no reason to keep up that behaviour, so we’ll stop.

How to Increase Motivation by 10% (or More)

In one study (Stanford and U of Michigan), they looked at kids who liked to draw (and spent a lot of time drawing).

They all liked drawing in the beginning– they’d draw for fun when no one’s looking.

There were three groups of kids:

The first group of kids knew they were going to be rewarded a prize (certificate) before they started drawing.

The second group of kids were surprised with a reward as they were drawing.

The last group of kids weren’t given any rewards, and just drew.

The kids who were given surprise rewards actually spent 10%+ more time drawing than the kids who’d expected rewards from the start.

When the first group of kids expected rewards, their motivation for drawing became extrinsic, while the second group were encouraged to draw more with surprise rewards.

The Secret Is…

This study has been done more than 128 times, and the results have been consistent:

The reward changes everything.

Surprise rewards motivate people more than anything.

And expected rewards unmotivate people.

It’s that simple.

To increase motivation by 10% or more, give a surprise reward. Once.

Don’t let them expect rewards.

If the piano exam is the reward, then don’t prep your pieces just for the exam.

Play them because you like them, and when the registration date comes along and you happen to be ready, then that’s a surprise reward.

Give piano students surprise gifts, but don’t bribe them.

Surprise rewards work for motivation of any type.

That’s right– hard work deserves surprise rewards.

What’s your latest goal? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

Your comment holds you accountable, so go ahead. I’ll read every single comment, I promise.

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2 Comments

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  • Anon August 10, 2013 at 5:36 am

    ”Let’s face it: We’re lazy creatures.”

    Speak for yourself. I am not lazy. Losing motivation doesn’t mean being lazy.

    • Grace Miles August 10, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      That’s an interesting thought. Are you sure that losing motivation, and whining on the couch, isn’t being lazy? When you can get out there and do whatever needs doing?