Motivate Yourself With Visions, Goals and Willpower: Hugo Kehr

Why do we sometimes have a hard time reaching our goals? What to do when we’re about to give in to temptation? How can we achieve what we set out to do without feeling like we have to convince ourselves to get to work? The key is motivation: with his straightforward 3-component model, Hugo Kehr teaches us how to check what drives us to pursue a particular goal, and how to find appropriate support to reach it while feeling happy.

Hugo Kehr is the acting chair holder of the Chair of Psychology at the Technical University of Munich. His current research, focuses on what motivates us as humans, and why we sometimes struggle with conflicting drives and a lack of willpower. Hugo Kehr received the prestigious Heisenberg Fellowship, and he is a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation. Since 2008, he has been organizer of the Munich Symposium of Motivation, a biannual international scholarly conference.

Motivate yourself with visions, goals and willpower | Hugo Kehr

Transcripts of the Video:

00:10
well imagine you have kissed a frog and
00:14
he grants you one wish one wish to cure
00:18
one of the ails of mankind which one
00:21
would you choose
00:22
hunger illness war but of course the
00:28
problem is if you choose hunger there
00:30
was to be illness and if you choose
00:32
illness there was to be war well if I
00:35
had one wish I would choose to cure
00:37
demotivation with a magic tool that
00:40
allows me to motivate people whenever I
00:42
need I could motivate everyone to solve
00:45
the most pressing problems of mankind
00:47
and we’d always have the maximum energy
00:50
for it well of course there is no frog
00:54
no magic to cure demotivation but there
00:57
is a new model that helps us understand
01:00
the reason for the motivation and it’s
01:02
much easier to find a cure once we know
01:04
exactly why was sometimes demotivated
01:06
well the new model is pretty
01:08
straightforward and easy to apply let me
01:10
ask you some questions to demonstrate
01:14
what do you associate with the term head
01:18
well you may think of eyes nose and ears
01:21
but most people also associate head with
01:23
rational thinking reason what we find
01:26
important now what do you associate with
01:28
heart well most people associate heart
01:33
with emotional feelings perhaps
01:35
intuition and what comes to to your mind
01:38
when you see this little illustration
01:40
head and heart well you may think of
01:45
balance or quite the contrary conflict
01:48
and some people think of a decision the
01:52
need for a decision now this is pretty
01:54
much what we find in our research at the
01:56
term school of management here head is
01:59
associated with our goals and values our
02:02
so called cognitive preferences so what
02:05
we find important and hard is associated
02:08
with our unconscious motives that lead
02:10
to effective preferences or we really
02:13
like we also find that the overlap
02:15
section is associated with harmony and
02:18
well-being but what if the two circles
02:21
are don’t aligned what if either heart
02:24
ahead are left out well research has
02:27
shown that discrepancies between head
02:29
nod reduce our well-being they lead to
02:32
stress and burnout and they make it
02:34
harder to reach our goals in fact even
02:37
if you reach the goals that are not
02:38
supported by your heart this may not
02:41
lead to happiness it’s more like so what
02:45
I’ve ticked that box what’s the next
02:48
goal and if you do that for 20 years
02:49
pursuing goals then that has nothing to
02:52
do with you you may come to the stage
02:54
where you say to your partner honey I’m
02:56
just going to buy a pack of cigarettes
02:58
and off you go and you’d never be seen
03:00
again so how do we deal with
03:04
discrepancies between head and heart
03:06
well this leads to another facet of the
03:09
model willpower well I guess you’re all
03:13
familiar with the term willpower but
03:15
what exactly is it when do we need
03:17
willpower and when don’t we need for
03:18
willpower can you think of an example
03:21
most people would say you need willpower
03:23
the moment things get difficult when I
03:26
struggle when I have to do something
03:28
that I don’t like but at only did
03:29
willpower when I have to do something
03:31
that I like so you could even say you
03:34
need willpower the moment your
03:35
motivation stops a lot of willpower is
03:38
needed for big tasks for example a
03:40
marathon especially if you have to get
03:43
through the last few kilometers so how
03:46
does this relate to the head and heart
03:47
model well willpower is needed here head
03:50
but not heart something is important to
03:53
me but it’s not pleasurable think of
03:56
doing the dishes pumping up your bicycle
03:58
tire overtime work these things are
04:01
important but they’re not fun exerting
04:04
willpower can mean using positive
04:06
fantasies for example how good will I or
04:09
others feel when the bike runs well
04:10
again when the works being done
04:12
I call this willpower type 1 now type 2
04:16
willpower is needed here in this sector
04:18
heart would not hit so something has our
04:21
emotional support but it’s not aligned
04:23
to our cognitive preferences you may
04:26
experience this as a temptation for
04:28
example spending excessive time on the
04:31
internet smoking cigarettes cheating on
04:34
your partner
04:36
willpower is needed here
04:39
for example negative fantasies what if I
04:42
don’t get to work done on time because I
04:44
wasted it on the Internet what is my
04:46
partner found out about the infidelity
04:48
no willpower is needed here in the
04:51
overlap sector because there is no
04:52
internal conflict now this will power
04:56
the magical weapon the magic that allows
04:59
us overcome all sorts of internal
05:01
conflict if this was the case we could
05:04
basically ignore all discrepancies
05:05
between head nod and always use the
05:07
sheer force of our willpower well
05:10
unfortunately this is not the case
05:11
research has shown that willpower can be
05:14
ineffective think of the difficulty is
05:16
to stick to a diet or to stop smoking it
05:19
is strenuous and unpleasant well it’s
05:21
not fun to not eat a tempting chocolate
05:23
cake and it’s a resource just like money
05:27
that can be used up let me illustrate
05:30
this with an example from our research
05:32
we created a conflict between head and
05:34
heart and the idea was that dealing with
05:37
this conflict would require willpower
05:38
and this willpower would then be lacking
05:41
for other subsequent tasks we select the
05:45
participants with a low-power motive who
05:47
do not like to influence and control
05:48
other people and we ask these people to
05:51
play the role of a very strict father
05:53
who overly controls his son no you must
05:55
not play this theater group oh please
05:57
study I said no we thought that people
06:01
with low power mode if wouldn’t like
06:02
their task they would need willpower to
06:04
play the straight father after the role
06:07
plane we gave our participants a second
06:09
self-control task they had to keep a
06:12
straight face while watching a very
06:13
funny movie and those were the low power
06:16
mode if they cracked up laughing so you
06:19
see that discrepancies between head and
06:20
heart can or require willpower and this
06:23
willpower is then lacking father tasks
06:25
some researchers have come up with the
06:27
idea with metaphor of willpower as
06:30
muscle the idea being that just as a
06:33
muscle that is used up by training you
06:36
can use up your willpower
06:37
so discrepancies between head and heart
06:40
require willpower and this willpower can
06:43
then be lacking father tasks now what if
06:47
there is an overlap between
06:49
and heart in other words our cognitive
06:52
preferences are aligned with our
06:54
affective preferences well this is the
06:56
zone of our intrinsic motivation and I
06:59
guess most of you are familiar with the
07:00
concept of intrinsic motivation we are
07:02
intrinsically motivated when we do
07:04
something for the sake of doing it
07:06
because we like it well here in the
07:10
sector is our extrinsic motivation
07:11
something is important to us perhaps we
07:14
expect a big reward but it’s not
07:17
pleasurable it’s not supported by our
07:18
emotions and as stated we need willpower
07:21
whenever we are extrinsically motivated
07:23
now here in this sector hard would not
07:26
hit so something has our emotional
07:27
support but it’s not aligned to our
07:30
cognitive preferences to our goals so
07:32
there is the potential for intrinsic
07:35
motivation but we try to suppress it
07:37
think of spending excessive time on
07:40
internet cheating on your partner you
07:42
name it
07:43
okay so this is basically what we need
07:46
to know about head and heart but there
07:48
is a third component to our motivation
07:50
that is also pretty important shouldn’t
07:52
be neglected imagine the following scene
07:54
a guy’s playing tennis
07:55
he seems highly motivated so head nod is
07:58
not an issue here but he misses the ball
08:01
he likes what he does he finds it
08:04
important but he keeps missing the ball
08:05
what is this tennis player lacking
08:08
exactly skills and abilities so we need
08:11
to add a third circle to the model and
08:13
true be consistent I call it hand and is
08:17
also metaphor it stands for our skills
08:19
abilities experiences actual related
08:22
knowledge head heart and hand well this
08:27
is actually quite an old triad it goes
08:29
back to your own Heinrich Pestalozzi a
08:30
famous Swiss educator in the early 19th
08:33
century but of course the comprehensive
08:35
not model is new I call it the 3 C model
08:38
the three components of motivation the 3
08:42
C model suggests that ideally all three
08:44
components are fulfilled but what can we
08:46
expected this is the case what is the
08:49
optimal motivation
08:50
Csikszentmihalyi a hungarian researcher
08:53
who works in the state’s study people
08:56
with optimal motivation tango dancers
08:58
surgeons chess players he asked these
09:01
people how
09:02
you feel while performing a task and
09:04
they all get pretty much the same
09:06
answers they said I’m fully concentrated
09:08
on my task there is no self monitoring
09:10
the time flies and I think I’m in full
09:13
control over what I’m doing chicks Mei
09:16
call this experience flow and he
09:19
suggested that flow is the secret to
09:21
happiness now what is your flow activity
09:25
at which activity do you personally
09:27
regularly experience flow a threesome
09:30
all suggest that all three components
09:32
need to be fulfilled for flow to happen
09:34
check this out for yourself and do you
09:38
have the skills and abilities for your
09:39
flow activity yes
09:41
so Hannah’s fulfilled head do you find
09:45
your flow activity important I guess so
09:47
so ed is also fulfilled and I’m pretty
09:50
sure that your heart is also in it in
09:53
fact research has shown that it is
09:55
critical for flow that our heart is in
09:56
it so what can we do in practice to more
10:00
often achieve flow and intrinsic
10:02
motivation to make sure that whatever we
10:04
do it has the emotional support needed
10:06
well I would like to illustrate this
10:08
with an example
10:09
perhaps you have a project in mind that
10:11
you intend to realize could be something
10:14
from your private or your professional
10:16
life maybe you want to renovate your
10:17
flat or you prepare a long backpacking
10:20
trip I will use the example that I try
10:23
to open up my own startup business now I
10:26
suggest a two-step approach first check
10:29
your motivation and then second find
10:32
appropriate support well to check our
10:35
motivation I can use the 3d model I call
10:37
this the 3c check to find out about your
10:40
head you can ask yourself is it really
10:43
important to me to open a startup is it
10:45
aligned to my personal goals what is in
10:48
for me are their goal conflicts perhaps
10:50
other important goals and what is the
10:53
goal behind the goal why am i doing this
10:56
well to find out about your heart you
10:58
may want to close your eyes imagine all
11:01
the things that need to be done to open
11:03
up a startup business develop your
11:05
product find some partners find the
11:08
right clients try to really see these
11:10
things happen this leads to emotional
11:12
reaction react
11:14
and then answer these questions do I
11:16
really like a project what parts of the
11:18
projects are fun and pleasurable what
11:20
other parts are less fun are their belly
11:22
aches or fears and to find out about
11:25
your hand you can ask yourself to have
11:27
the skills abilities for this task for
11:29
this project that successfully real are
11:32
similar projects in the past so you see
11:34
how the 3c chap can can help you analyze
11:37
your motivation
11:38
now come step to find appropriate
11:40
support well let’s assume the situations
11:43
like this you found out your 3c check
11:45
that you really find it important to
11:47
open the start up and your heart is also
11:50
in it you’d love to do it but you’re not
11:52
sure about your skills and abilities
11:53
well here you can try to find a coach a
11:56
trainer
11:57
perhaps a personal assistant and maybe
12:00
by networking you find some people the
12:01
right people to help you now what is
12:04
here in this sector um you’d really love
12:07
to open a start up you have all the
12:09
skills and abilities needed but you’re
12:11
not sure whether this is the right thing
12:12
to do maybe because there are other
12:15
important goals you might may think of
12:17
you want to stay with your current
12:19
employer and a stable income so here you
12:22
should try to increase your goal
12:24
commitment by convincing yourself with
12:26
better arguments maybe find new
12:28
incentives perhaps a new tax advisor and
12:31
you can try to resolve conflicts by
12:35
reprioritizing goals now what is here in
12:38
this combination you find the project
12:40
really important and you have all the
12:42
skills and abilities needed well most
12:45
people wouldn’t hesitate any longer they
12:47
would just go for it imagine in the
12:49
company your boss he would be really
12:50
happy if he found out that you find a
12:52
project really important and you have
12:54
all the skills needed we tend to ignore
12:57
the heart while this combination is why
13:00
we are sometimes not motivated to pursue
13:02
our own important goals this is why
13:05
managers fail at reaching their targets
13:07
this is why companies fail at
13:09
implementing change they all ignore the
13:12
emotional component but here’s the thing
13:14
we cannot ignore the emotion component
13:17
we know that this combination needs
13:19
willpower and we know that willpower is
13:22
a costly resource and we know the
13:25
chances are high that we may
13:27
so what can we do here well find support
13:31
avoid negative self motivation if I fail
13:34
I’ll be doomed find new motivators if
13:37
you are a social person try to find some
13:39
friends and to open the start up
13:41
together and you want may want to try to
13:44
develop a compelling vision your
13:46
personal vision why are you doing is it
13:49
I just opening this startup for the
13:50
money create a bigger picture real
13:54
vision has the potential to engage your
13:56
heart well in here the optimum
13:59
motivation all three components are
14:00
fulfilled here you can really trust your
14:02
self-management in a company I’d say you
14:04
can now delegate the project to your
14:05
coworker but you may want to make
14:08
regular check-ups because the boundary
14:09
conditions may change so this is how the
14:13
3c check can help you enhance your
14:16
motivation and make it more likely to
14:18
succeed I strongly recommend using a 3c
14:21
check as part of your daily routines in
14:23
fact it even works with children well I
14:28
have a few more minutes left and I would
14:30
like to use them to address another
14:31
important issue that is related to our
14:33
motivation let’s assume you have the
14:35
choice between doing something that you
14:36
really like and something else have you
14:39
really disliked what would you choose
14:41
but of course this is a no-brainer in
14:43
fact it is a classic motivational
14:46
principle that people approach pleasure
14:47
and avoid pain this seems to be true for
14:50
all animals even amoeba we call this the
14:53
hedonic principle well then of course
14:56
our reality is much more complex
14:58
sometimes we do choose goals that we
15:00
don’t like we go to the dentist even if
15:03
we know it may hurt we prepare for a
15:05
stressful exam instead of just watching
15:07
TV so why is this well this is a
15:11
philosophical question what leads to a
15:14
better life always trying to maximize
15:16
pleasure or foregoing pleasure and
15:18
striving for something higher
15:20
why should power loss become ourselves
15:23
let’s get back to the head and heart
15:25
model heart stands for our current needs
15:29
and fulfillment of our current needs
15:31
leads to pleasure and instant
15:33
gratification but then there is also the
15:36
head what we find import but had all
15:38
our stands for a cognitive capacity to
15:41
anticipate future needs so the student
15:44
may think which study programs do I need
15:46
to complete before I find a job the
15:48
employer you may think how much money do
15:50
we need to save before I retire so we
15:53
have the capacity to anticipate our
15:55
future needs and we can also suppress
15:57
our current needs because of higher
15:59
anticipated needs this is why we go to
16:02
the dentist even we know it may hurt now
16:06
this is an amazing skill of ours a skill
16:08
that needs to be used wisely know
16:11
exactly well let me give you my message
16:14
in a nutshell develop your personal
16:17
vision the positive motivating picture
16:20
of your future use this vision to find
16:23
the really important goals in your life
16:25
apply the 3c check to shape these goals
16:28
so they have a maximum of emotional
16:30
support and then pursue these goals with
16:33
some minimal help from your willpower it
16:36
is not so difficult to achieve success
16:38
in some way but this is the key for its
16:41
success that also makes you happy
16:44
disclaimer I have a great dentist and it
16:48
never hurts and my partner knows
16:50
everything

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