Monday, June 13, 2011

Final Post- Need to Achieve

I had the opportunity to take both “Learning Theory and Research” and “Motivation” with Dr. Berg. Both classes had similar layouts, was very interesting, and informative. This particular Psychology class “Motivation” explained why we do the things we do. There are so many aspects to motivation that most of us don’t think about on a daily basis. There is a motive behind everything that we do. Some of the topics covered were universal motives of sex, fear, food, and music (i.e. selecting mates, maintaining relationships based on motivation, food preference), addictions and addictive behaviors (the motivation behind using psychoactive drugs and gambling), personality and self in motivation, and drives and needs as internal sources of motivation.

I have taken many psychology courses in school since it is my major and I must say that this class and “Learning Theory and Research” are two of my favorites. I really wish that these classes were lectures; I think I would have loved them even more. I rented the books, but, because I learned so much from them, I want to buy them now. At first, I thought that these books were going to touch on a topic and then move on to another topic like other psychology books I have read. However, I soon found out that these books focused on the concept it was talking about and explained it in great detail. Additionally, before I started reading the books, I flipped through them and I recognized some of the topics. I thought the material was going to be repetitive but I discovered shortly that the text had an array of topics that I never seen or heard of before. For example, I had no idea that self esteem, emotions and personality traits had anything to do with motivation.

My favorite topic was achievement motivation in chapter 8 “Drives, Needs, and Awareness.” I found it interesting because I have a need to achieve/ a drive to be successful in anything I do. According to Deckers (2010), the need to achieve or motive to achieve success (Ms) is a disposition to engage in task-oriented behavior or achievement behavior. It is characterized as doing things better than before or surpassing a high external or internal standard of excellence. The standards can be defined on the job, in sports, or in school and are based on the performance of others or on the persons own standards. Many people have a need to achieve while others are motivated to avoid failures and some have both. The motive to avoid failures (Maf) is the opposite of the need to achieve and inhibits a person from attempting to achievement tasks. It is characterized by anxiety and fear about failing a task. I think a lot of people go through this in life. For example, I chose to major in psychology because I want to become a counselor for kids with health problems when I get older. As a result, I am driven by my Ms and it pushes me towards my goal. However, I become afraid of failing and I don’t want to let down myself/others so think I made the wrong decision. As a result, my Maf tries to push me away from my goal. The Maf does not work though because its strength is not as high as the strength of my Ms. The video shows some other people who were motivated to achieve despite what others thought about them.

This class has been an inspiration. For a while now, I felt like I have lost my motivation to do a lot of things and I’m trying to find it back. Reading this book helped me understand why some people, including myself, are not motivated and explained how we to become motivated.


Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: biological, psychological, and environmental (3rd ed.). Boston, Mass.: Allyn & Bacon.


  1. I agree, because before this class I never knew that there was a difference between the motivation to succeed vs. the motive to not fail. In many ways i think it can tie very strongly into our fears - the fear of not achieving excellence vs. the fear of failure. In many ways we can be driven by both, but also inhibited by both. For example in athletics there is the constant push and pull factor between the motive to achieve personal and team success vs. the fear of your own lack of performance and the team's loss. In taking this class I have come to somewhat understand what may have kept me from continuing with team athletics once I reached a high-school and collegiate level. The pressure seemed to great to me at the time, and I feel now that it was because I was overwhelmed with the fear of failure and disappointment to my highly motivated teammates (my Maf). I wish that there were programs in our early school systems to help facilitate and nurture our confidence in ourselves to overcome those inhibiting fears and feelings because this type of fear can branch well beyond athletics and enter into our feelings about scholastics, relationships, and even our overall quality of life in general. If these types of patterns continue at an extreme level it can go beyond affecting just one person and branch out to their families and children, should they choose to have them. Now that I understand what this means I am going to continue to apply it to my daily life.

  2. This class has been a great inspiration to me as well. I agree with the Ms and Maf relationships you described. I too second guess my self a lot due to the fear of failing. However, this class has indeed help me become more motivated to perserver and continue to try to reach all of my goals!