A Surprising Psychological Finding on How to Get Moving

Posted on August 27, 2018

The usual advice that one would hear after complaining of a lack of motivation would be to look at someone else who is already successful and established in that field for that boost of motivation and inspiration to get yourself off the couch and on your feet to greatness. However, new psychological findings suggest that it is exactly the opposite of receiving advice that will boost motivation – giving advice.

Psychologists believe that problems with self-control in getting things done are usually related to the lack of motivation to turn knowledge into concrete actions. In recent psychological studies, participants with self-control issues were asked to give advice to others on the very same problems they were struggling with. These issues ranged from unemployment, anger management, academic struggles and difficulties in saving money.
This is derived from the idea that giving advice would boost one’s confidence in ability, and that this would in turn boost motivation and achievement even more than the actual competence in the matter.

The results of the study supported their hypothesis – when unemployment individuals gave advice to equally demoralized, unemployed individuals, they reported feeling more motivated to search for jobs compared to before giving the advice.

In another study, researchers found that for 72% of participants, advising others to save money provided them with more motivation to save money as compared to receiving money-saving tips from financial experts. Similarly, 77% of adults struggling with anger management said they were more motivated to control their temper after giving anger management advice than they were after receiving advice from psychologists. In addition, 72% of adults struggling with weight loss issues reported feeling more confident of their ability to lose weight after advising others about the same issue rather than receiving advice from professional nutritionists.

What is surprising given the results is the finding that participants did not expect that giving advice would be so much more effective as compared to receiving advice – in fact, they consistently rated giving advice as being less effective than being on the receiving end. This is likely due to the misconception that failure to perform is the result of inadequate knowledge. However, when people fail to act and work on a problem, it is usually not because they don’t have the relevant knowledge, but rather, they don’t apply what they know to what they do.

Hence, the effectiveness of giving advice in providing the push for people to work on their own issues could possibly stem from the reflection that they go through when they dispense the relevant information to others.

Category(s):Self help groups, Self-Confidence

Source material from Quartz At Work