When called on to complete a task or engage in an activity, there are various things that can affect our performance. First of all, there is the difficulty of that task. Is it something that you’ve done before? Can it be done within a time period that’s short enough to hold your attention? Is it a high-priority task or can it wait until tomorrow? Then there is the motivation factor, which probably has the greatest impact on performance. Having no motivation to complete a task will almost certainly rear negative results. However, if you decide that you are motivated to engage in that activity, you must ask yourself: Are you intrinsically or extrinsically motivated?
To help me make my point, visualize the following scenario:
Betty, who is an avid bowler, bowls once a week in a semi-competitive league with her friends and family. Everyone has a good time, and she always leaves feeling satisfied. Her league night begins, and she kicks off the first frame with a strike. Cheers, laughter, and trash-talk ensue. To Betty’s surprise, the second ball she throws hits home, and she now has two strikes in a row. The aforementioned celebration resumes. The same routine continues for the next five frames—the cheers becoming louder with each crash of the pins. Suddenly, the game becomes serious. Betty knows that bowling a strike in every frame results in a perfect score and instant celebrity status among her peers in the Thursday night league. Her mind begins to race with notions of recognition, cash prizes, and perfect-game memorabilia. The pressure is mounting as she steps up to throw the ball for the eighth time. As she performs her approach, her clammy hands release the ball entirely too soon. With her eyes closed, Betty hears the solemn sound of the ball rolling down the gutter—her perfect game rolling with it.