Larry Weeks

The Motivation Equation: Piers Steel On The Science of Drive and Procrastination

Listen now on Apple, GoogleSpotify, or any pod player.

There is always a good side to the research I present, within the causes we can also find the cures – Piers Steel

This podcast is about every promise you made to yourself but broke.

Depending on the research, there are anywhere from 40% – 60% percent of us admitting we make New Year’s resolutions. A study from the University of Scranton found that 23% of people quit their resolution after one week, and only 19% of individuals stick to the goals long term.

We put off starting a project we planned, or once started, we never finish. We swear to eat healthily, lose weight, or you name it, only to see ourselves defeated by what seems to be a lack of will.

If we really want to do these things, why don’t we do them?

Let me introduce you to the Pope of Procrastination, who forgives you of all that.

My guest is Piers Steel, Ph.D.

Piers is a Distinguished Research Chair at the University of Calgary, where he teaches human resources and organizational dynamics at the Haskayne School of Business and is one of the world’s leading researchers on the science of motivation and procrastination.

He’s also the inventor of the procrastination equation – an equation that encapsulates pretty much every scientific finding on procrastination out there to date and published in his oft-cited book The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done.

That’s what procrastination robs us the most…when we’re done with work when we come back and we’ve earned the time to actually kind of shut our brains off, but we can’t do it because we’re obsessing about what we were avoiding – Piers Steel

You’re about to find out not only why you procrastinate, but the science on what works to overcome it, i.e., how to increase motivation.

Learn the equation, and you’ll be able to diagnose the origins of your lack of motivation. And from there, increase it nearly on-command.

Piers lays it out for us.

Some of the talking points we cover on the show include …

  • The origin of the research
  • Long-held myths on why people procrastinate
  • Why we really procrastinate
  • The number one reason people procrastinate
  • The dualistic theory of the mind
  • Breaking down the variables that make up motivation and how to work with each
  • The power of context
  • When on a timeline motivation increases – and how to work with it
  • Why it’s very difficult to be motivated sufficiently by money alone
  • The real problem with impulsiveness (some tricks to thwart temptation)
  • Sort ranking the motivation variables by impact, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.
  • The impact of fatigue
  • The problem with smart goals

I had a lot of fun talking with Piers, and our conversation, due to my meandering really, ran for almost two hours. Not to worry, this is the edited version.

It should be obvious how critical motivation is in achieving anything.  So it is well worth the time spent on learning how it works and how to increase it in yourself and in others. I think you will not only find this podcast interesting but that path it leads to absolutely invaluable.

Give it a listen.

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