The Psychology of Self-Motivation | Ted Talks

In the following Ted Talks video, Scott Geller teaches us how to inspire and empower ourselves to go beyond the boundaries, and beyond the call of duty.

In other words, he wants to teach us on self-motivation, as a key factor for success. He does that through the four C-words that actually fuel self-motivation.

First we need to ask ourselves three simple questions:

  1. Can we do it?
  2. Will it work?
  3. Is it worth it?

If we say “yes” to all three questions, we will feel competent at doing worthwhile work, and empowered, which will boost our self-motivation to do anything we want to.

Geller mentions one more C-word related to competency – choice. As long as we feel we have sense of choice, and sense of autonomy in what we are doing, we will become more self-motivated.

Everybody wants to work for a pleasant consequence, approach that makes us feel as though we are working towards something (self-directed). But, some people actually work to avoid a negative consequence, which makes them feel limited and controlled (other-directed).

In order to become “success seekers” rather than “failure-avoiders”, Geller encourages us to be mindful of the choices we have.

Fourth C-word that Geller talks about is community. People who have a sense of connection with other people are happier and motivated. We need to change our perception and to move from the independence culture to one of interdependence. We need to learn from each other, and also help each other to feel self-motivated.

About the speaker


Scott Geller is Alumni Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech and Director of the Center for Applied Behavior Systems in the Department of Psychology. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the World Academy of Productivity and Quality.