This article defines Cognitive Dissonance as the relation between cognitions which exist simultaneously for a person; the example provided is an intelligent, capable person who meets nothing but constant failure. The one thing that the author did here was the lone part of the article that I actually liked; he gave a good segway into how cognitive dissonance can be used as a state of motivation. Besides, isn't the point of this class to discuss motivation? Cognitive dissonance gives rise to activity oriented toward reducing or eliminating the dissonance, thus the successful reduction of the dissonance is comparable to eating to cease your hunger.
I have had several clashes with thoughts of dissonance; a somewhat recent example of which would be that two summers ago we made it to the championship game in my summer basketball league. We lost by 2 points and I happened to play very poorly that game. So during the fall, winter, and spring I dedicated myself to improving my game so that I would not make the same mistake the following summer. In terms of breaking this down (Festinger should try breaking things down once in a while), the cognitions going through my mind were: I am a very good player, but I cannot win a championship; so by practicing and improving and eventually winning, I was motivated and ultimately reduced the dissonance. I'm not one of those guys that attempts to preach my life story to the crowd, but I attempted to use this example because for me it was easy to use since I'm really into sports.