Passion at work: re-ignite your fire
The recent trend of ‘quiet quitting’ has revealed that many people are losing their enthusiasm for a career they once loved.
For someone, it might be a sign that the time for a new career has come, but before making a drastic move, we suggest some “cultivation strategies” to reignite your passion and motivation.
Patricia Chen (professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, US), surveyed 316 undergraduates of various academic disciplines about the ways their passion for their subject had changed throughout time.
The researchers identified five common strategies that the students claimed had raised their motivation. They were:
Recognising personal relevance: A student studying business, for instance, could try to think of the ways that theoretical knowledge would help them to found a start-up.
Recognising societal relevance: ask yourself how the subject could help you understand the world, and how that knowledge could ultimately benefit others.
Building familiarity: Acquiring new knowledge can itself prime someone’s curiosity to know more, as they identify further points of interest, and the very fact of having made progress and mastered difficult tasks can be a reward in itself. So, someone who is feeling demotivated might look for new ways to grow their skill set.
Gaining practical experience: Many of the students found that work placements and internships increased their enthusiasm for their academic studies.
Finding mentors and changing the environment: look for someone that inspires you or friends who could help to make the work more fun.
Chen broader her studies with psychological research looking at the ways that people regulate their interest and motivation in their work. Besides confirming the use of the strategies, these studies suggest a few other ways of reviving your mojo.
“proximal goal setting” and “self-consequating”. These are particularly useful when you feel overwhelmed with a new project, in which the challenge is so great, and the reward so distant, that you struggle to summon up the enthusiasm to get started”. It also can be associated with career objectives.
The first one, proximal goal setting, consists in splitting the project into bite-size tasks that are much quicker to complete and then allowing you to enjoy the warm feeling of satisfaction when you tick them off your plan.
Self-consequating means choosing your own rewards based on your performance. Another way to think of self-consequating is that you are making a promise to yourself. Promising yourself a reward once your goal/task is satisfactorily completed can help you get motivated to achieve your own goals.
But the mindset is also important.
People with a developing mindset are more likely to see positive increases in their passion for their subject over time than one with a fixed mindset.
Taking some time to think about our overall goals, looking for the benefits our work is providing to others, reaching out to inspirational colleagues and setting out a plan with small rewards – these are also simple strategies that we could all take to boost our enthusiasm.
If nothing changes after these easy exercises, you don’t have to assume all the responsibility and you should talk to your boss about the ways you can change your job so that it is more closely aligned with your values and interests.