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It’s Not Your Fault For Having No Motivation

How do you define motivation? A quick google search on motivation and you will see that it has a lot to do with self-esteem and the confidence an individual has in their own abilities or worth. 

This is critical information because research shows that society believes “self-esteem” is the cause of motivation, persistence, and success instead of the end product. In other words, the resulting effect of motivation, persistence, and goal achievement, is self-esteem, not the other way around. What does this mean for our youth?


This means children are being raised with boosts to their self-esteem, in hopes that this will bring about lasting success in the academic environment and later towards career success. For example, research shows that working hard in school leads to having good grades and eventually high self-esteem. However, schools try to engage with students by boosting their self-esteem regardless of their goals. Educational structures and systems bypass the incentive of good grades by freely giving students high self-esteem without the process of getting it: working hard. According to an article by Michael Alison Chandler for the Washington Post, “For decades the prevailing wisdom in education was that high self-esteem would lead to high achievement. The theory led to an avalanche of daily affirmations, awards ceremonies and attendance certificates, but few, if any, academic gains.”

Although the educational system has good intentions, they backfired their own strategy for continued success. Whenever there is an incentive, due to trying to increase self-esteem, all it is doing is subconsciously telling an individual that they do not need to put in effort, ultimately leading to poor performance habits.


A detrimental result of trying to boost someone’s self-esteem before they put in work is they are learning to believe they can do anything, and a growing body of research over three decades shows that easy, unearned praise does not help students but instead interferes with significant learning opportunities. They overestimate their actual abilities with the illusion of self-esteem often found in pride. This lowers motivation because they believe they have already attained the skills needed for any goal. As schools bump up academic standards for all students, new buzzwords are “resilience”, “risk-taking”, and “persistence”—each implying more sweat and strain, than fuzzy, warm feelings.


Another reason why an individual may be lacking motivation is that, even though they may already have high self-esteem, they can sniff out the tiniest possibility of failure in the goal and will mentally shut down. They don’t want to proceed because they think that if they try and then fail, it will directly affect their self-worth. So they choose to stay on the high of having false confidence. Interestingly enough, people are motivated when they believe that the pressure of society isn’t behind the reason for pursuing the goal. If they choose to pursue a goal for themselves, without any incentive in the end, but purely for the joy of interest, they are more likely to be motivated enough to execute it.

So, yes. Technically, it is not your fault for having no motivation. But, this goes to show you that knowing who you are through self-reflection, accountability of a mentor, truthful friends, and prayer is extremely important. There is a difference between the support of loved ones and receiving feedback for personal growth. If you can’t accurately measure your abilities and worth, it directly affects your confidence and motivation to do anything.


For more help on how to reach your goals and dreams, please schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with me here.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

**Erica weaves themes of transformative hope and grace-filled leadership into everything she shares on her blog. She’s an author, a speaker, and a life coach, who offers honest encouragement and road-tested wisdom about topics ranging from leadership and lifestyle, to discovering your God-crafted identity, design, and purpose.

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