Motivation is that which makes someone want to do something. Factors that can motivate an individual range from the intrinsic (desire to do something for personal reward, not financial gain) to the extrinsic (completing a task to gain something or avoid punishment). A motivated person is one who is driven and has an incentive to work hard, directing his or her energies towards completing personal or professional goals.

Linked with the idea of motivation is the tool of goal setting. Goal setting can be short term (completing homework by the end of the day) or long term (pursuing a degree in medicine in the hope of becoming a doctor), and can help motivate someone into accomplishing something. In many ways, setting goals makes managing a task easier, and gives your life a sense of direction.

Try to imagine yourself in the situations provided below, and record how you would react.

  • Your exams are next week and you have put together a schedule to help prepare you for your studies. These exams are important to you and your future: Your parents are supportive, and your college is giving you all the training you need to excel. You begin studying, only to be interrupted by your cousins. They have unexpectedly dropped by and are planning to spend a month in the city. You are delighted to see them and enjoy their company. However, the exam is next week. Do you continue to prepare for the examination, or do you spend with them?
  • Unfortunately, you have performed poorly in your first internal assessment, scoring marks that are far below the average. The college principal summons you to her room, where she and your class teacher are waiting to discuss your marks. Your class teacher is sympathetic, but your principal appears to be stern, harsh and very unhappy with you. How do you proceed? Do you attempt to appease both teacher and principal, or do you defend yourself and question their methods?

The above situations depict common scenarios students might face. It is your responsibility, as a student, to dedicate an adequate amount of time to studies and preparation so that you can perform well in your exams and set a good foundation for your future. The paragraph below explain how one should react in such situations.

  • When trying to accomplish a goal, it is important to remember not to be easily distracted. In this situation, your cousins-who are in the city for a month-will understand that you need to prioritise your studies. If you were to postpone studying, you risk not being fully prepared for your examination, and worse, you risk making a habit of setting aside your responsibilities. Here, you must remain motivated, and focus on acquiring a good grade so that you can enjoy your time with your cousins after the examination.
  • In this scenario, your teacher and principal have called a meeting as they wish to understand why you have performed so poorly. In their eyes, you have not me your true potential. It is easy to get angry or to be defensive about your marks, but motivated individuals recognize when they have made a mistake, and understand that they need to work hard to accomplish their goals. Here, getting angry jeopardizes your position with your teachers and your position in the school. The solution is to accept their advice, to put forward a plan of action, and to take the necessary step forward.

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