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Perception drives motivation. Motivation can be considered the stimulus that causes us to take action or engage in a certain behavior. If we want to achieve or develop a more desirable behavior, then the motivation to do that must be stronger or more valuable than the competing behavior. If the motivation to change is not stronger or more valuable than the competing behavior, the behavior remains unchanged. That being said, what one person perceives as important or valuable is not the same as another person. For example, if a person needs to exercise more, the motivation is better health, longer life, and etc. These are valuable motivators. If, however, another person is working three jobs just to make ends meet, then finding time to exercise is not going to be perceived as important.
Absolutely. You can be motivated to do something or not to do it based on how you perceive yourself. To look at a "macro-level" example, countries tend to be motivated to protect the way they perceive themselves and the ways they are perceived. The United States tries to act in ways that are in accord with our image of ourselves as the peacemakers of the world -- the country that can fix any problem.
This works on the personal level too -- people often act so as to preserve their chosen self-images.
Experience enters into the equation, at least at times. After people have lost jobs and been hungry and without the essentials for some time, their perceptions change. Those who lived through the Great Depression certainly had a different perception of what mattered the most in their lives, and what a person needed for a long time after they recovered financially. "Waste not, want not" became their motto. But, moderns do not consider what the people of the 1930s considered luxuries. To them, 2 or 3 televisions in a house are necessary. So, they are motivated to purchase them whereas the Depression era people would not bother. In short, people's concepts of what they need are definitely determined by their perceptions, born of their experiences, of what is important and necessary in their lives.
Definitely - how we perceive our lives, situations, jobs and circumstances will impact our motivation greatly. We often need to change the way we perceive our situation in order to motivate ourselves. As a teacher I see this all the time - if I can change students' perception about Shakespeare, say, they become far more motivated to succeed and their grades rise as a result.
In nearly every area of life, perception is the impetus for motivation--or lack of motivation. In appearance, in finances, in academics, in sports, in whatever, how we see ourselves determines what we do and don't do. Seeing a little success is encouraging and motivating; seeing no improvement is just the opposite. In either case, perception creates action--even if the action is inaction.
When I read this question, I immediately thought of how students are motivated (or not) by their perception of ME. I have certainly rubbed some classes the wrong way on the first day of school that dug a hole we never came out of. I can think of a particular student who came to me later (many of her friends had me in future semesters and loved my class) and said, "I don't know, Mrs. Wait. I just thought you had an attitude on that first day and decided I didnt' like you, so I never really tried in your class."
That was an eye-opener.
Ever since I have been particularly careful not to come on too strong with new classes. I think there is very delicate balance in a classroom for building relationships. Perception IS everything when it comes to that initial connection, which, for most, is a make or break moment.
Yes. I am practicing for a famous intelligence test right now called the LSAT. This exam works to trick you. The first practice exam I took made me feel inferior and stupid. After I had read about some strategies which built my confidence, my next approach to a test was not only easier, but I performed much better. I saw through the exam writers and realized that I had to recognize their techniques. As I saw some of them playing out, my perception changed from believing that the test was insurmountable to believing that there was a possibility that I might do well, in fact, I had created a probability that I would do much better.
I would have to agree with the rest of the posters in saying that perception most definitely has an effect on motivation. If we perceive something as impossible or unachievable our motivation may not be as great as if we perceive it as attainable.
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