In their book Discovering Psychology, Don Hockenbury, Sandra Hockenbury, and Susan Nolan identify three critical components of motivation:
- Activation – The decision to take a particular action, such as creating a screenplay or enrolling in a particular class.
- Persistence – Making continuous effort to achieve a goal in the face of difficulties or obstacles. For example, continuing to work on a screenplay even though you have limited time, aren’t making as much progress as you’d like, or are encountering regular distractions.
- Intensity – The amount of concentration and effort invested in achieving a specific goal. If you work on your screenplay with a high level of intensity, you’ll do whatever it takes to complete it, including blocking out time in your schedule, cutting out distractions, and reading books about screenplay writing.
All three of these components are necessary in order to actually get things done. Without activation, you’ll never initiate new tasks or pursue new goals. Without persistence, you’ll give up on your goals as soon as you encounter resistance. Without intensity, you’ll make little or no progress on your goals.
When you’re truly motivated, all three components are present. You’re eager to take action, keep working on your goals when things get tough, and bring a high level of effort to everything you do.