Motivation and factors affecting motivation
Motivation and factors affecting motivation

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Motivation and factors affecting motivation

2 Understanding motivation

Motivation underlies all aspects of human behaviour and can help to explain why people do what they do. At times, though, it may be difficult to understand even your own motivation. Sometimes you will have a clear idea of what you are intending to achieve by your behaviour and the motivation behind it. There may be other times, however, when your motivations are less clear. If it is hard to understand your own motivation, you can appreciate that it is even harder to understand the motivation of others. You also need to appreciate that what motivates you may not motivate another person. If you are active yourself and value the benefits of activity, you may find it difficult and frustrating that this is not shared by others.

The first activity presents a case study of motivation and how it can change due to major life events.

Activity 1 Thinking about personal motivation

Timing: Allow about 45 minutes

Watch the following video clip titled ‘Motivation through adversity: The Fabrice Muamba story’ which shows Fabrice Muamba being interviewed about motivation.

Download this video clip.Video player: Motivation through adversity: The Fabrice Muamba story
Skip transcript: Motivation through adversity: The Fabrice Muamba story

Transcript: Motivation through adversity: The Fabrice Muamba story

One of the huge motivational things about Fabrice, I think, is his spirit as a fighter. I think I've learned so much from him because of how much he has fought. Not just through his accident, but through his life, you know. He's not been handed anything on a plate, and he has fought for everything. And I admire him because through his accident, I was told so many negative things. I was told he'd be in a vegetative state forever. And if he wasn't, he'd have the mental capacity of a two year old for life. He doesn't at all. He defied everything that they said would happen to him, and he's still fighting. Obviously, he's not playing, but I really feel like your passion as a … you have to want to live to live.
Football has always been something that I enjoyed doing. And when I was young, I used to play football a lot. And my mother and my father always encouraged me to do that, but also at the same time, they were so keen for me to study and to be able to have good results on my education. And from a very young age, my mum was always making sure that I got everything done on time, my homework done on time. And then as soon as I finished my homework, I can go and play football as much as I wanted.
I think one of the first … one of the things that Fabrice found really challenging when he came to this country is the language barrier, and being able to communicate with other people. You're a young child, and I'm sure he wanted to say things, that he just couldn't say because he couldn't put the words together at that time.
[INAUDIBLE] almost every single day in school and in different classes. And I was always willing to learn, because I just felt like if I want to live here for a long time, then I might as well be able to learn the language [INAUDIBLE].
I think one of the huge motivating factors for Fabrice was the fact that he always wanted to be a professional football player. And I feel like him being rejected initially from the Arsenal Academy was a motivating factor for him. It was almost like it presented him with a challenge. ‘OK, I'm not good enough? OK, I'll show you that I'm good enough.’ And I think the fact that they also said, ‘You need to practise, and then you can have another trial’, I personally feel for Fabrice that was a glimmer of hope for him. Some people would have taken that as a negative and said, ‘Oh, I'm not good enough. They're just saying that so they can get rid of me.’ But Fabrice took that as a challenge, and he went back, and he did practise, because he knew and believed that he could be a Premier League football player.
I was at Arsenal when I was 15, when I signed my one-year schoolboy contract. And from the year contract, they gave me, because I've improved so much in a year, by the time I left school, they gave me a YTS. Which had me going there full time from the time I turned 17. So I knew from when I did my GCSEs, that I've already got a job somewhere else waiting for me, so I need to just make sure that I get my GCSEs right. I made my debut when I was 18, against Sunderland – we won three-nil. And then I went on loan the following year. When I moved from London to Birmingham, I lived to myself, by myself. So I had to adjust very quickly, and learn a lot about life and depending on myself, and rather than calling mum every five minutes, ‘What do I do here, what do I do there?’ My uncle, who's a university teacher at East London University, Uncle Paul, he was always banging into my head, education, education, education. And he would come to me with different leaflets and ‘This is what you're supposed to be doing. I know you're playing on Saturday, and maybe we'll go a couple of hours and just trying to get this done.’ And he brought me the brochure for Open University, and he said, ‘I've been reading this, and I think maths is a good subject for you.’ We would play on a Saturday. I have a Sunday off, so Monday after training, I would spend a couple hours studying. I played for Birmingham and Bolton in the Premier League. And my first game for Birmingham was against Chelsea, the first game of the season. And we lost four-nil, but the whole experience about the whole game, it was just phenomenal. Changing room, Premier League badges, and the players that we were facing, to me, it was just an overwhelming experience that I still cherish to this day.
He had targets. He had goals. He knew where he wanted to be in five years. He knew where he wanted to be in two games. He literally had a book of goals that he wanted to achieve. And he also wrote stuff down. Like, for example, he'd play, and he'd watch a game, and then he'd analyse it, and write down everything that he did wrong. He was always trying to improve, always trying to be a better player, be a faster player, do something more technical. He was just really, really driven and focused. And he'd stay behind after training, as well, which a lot of players don't do. So he'd stay another hour, two hours to focus on whatever he wasn't doing correctly just to try and be that better person. I think when Fabrice was at Bolton, an obstacle would always be getting into the starting 11. Even if you train really and you play really well, it's down to the manager to decide who plays and who doesn't play. I think one of the things he didn't like was training really hard, giving his all, and then not being in the starting 11. I think the highlight of playing was actually, not the perks of the job – obviously, they’re a bonus and an incentive – but I think the main perk was actually winning and scoring those three points. I think it's true that Fabrice is a player that never gives up. I think there's a record of him, like, covering the most distance in one season. He literally does not stop. He is very driven, and he always tries his best. And, like I said, he's always trying to grow and evolve. There are people who have achieved more than Fabrice and there are people that have achieved less. I think you can't be a person and not be influenced by people who you look to, who have done it before. I do personally feel like if Fab hadn't had his accident, he would have gone on to achieve a lot more just based on his mental capacity, and how driven and focused he is. I don't feel you can be around a team, and see other people achieve, and then not want to achieve yourself.
In life, you have your eagles and you have your turkeys. The eagle is the one that helps you to stay there, and to fly as fast and high as possibly you can. And your turkeys are the ones that are on the ground. They don't fly, but they want to stay with them so as to eat anything that's on the floor. And I had my turkeys, and at some point, they weren't good for me. It was a FA Cup game, and we playing Tottenham at White Hart Lane. I knew two days before the game, I'd be starting. At that time, I wasn't really getting to play as much as I wanted to play in the Premier League, so I was on the bench most of the time, so I thought we weren't doing great in the league, and I thought this was an opportunity for me to go out and give a good account of myself. And just before my incident happened, I started to feel very, very dizzy. Very dizzy. I started seeing double vision, when I see somebody, I can see them two at the same time. So my vision became very blurry. All of a sudden, my head hit the floor the first time. And the second time, that's when I was completely gone.
The 23-year-old midfield player fell to the ground in the 41st minute of the game …
Very quickly it became apparent this was more serious than a normal injury.
A Premier League footballer is fighting for his life after collapsing on the pitch …
Everybody is rooting for him. We're desperate for good news.
Fabrice Muamba remains in a critical condition.
Get well soon, Fabrice. Our thoughts are with you.
I'm just gutted. I just hope he pulls through. It’s all about Muamba, it’s not about Bolton Wanderers anymore.
Fabrice Muamba is in a critical condition. Doctors say it took two hours before his heart was able to pump on its own.
Owen Coyle, the Bolton manager.
Keep up the prayers. Thanks for all your support.
I think it just shocked everyone.
I had three doctors in the same place, and ambulances 30 seconds away for me. So it was like everything happened in the right place at the right time. And to me, I have had the best team to help me to recover from my accident.
I think the fact that he proved everyone wrong. Scientifically, they couldn't explain his recovery. It still baffles them. He didn't get oxygen for 78 minutes. If you stop getting oxygen for four minutes, then you start losing your mental capacity. He really shouldn't be here.
I don't really like hospitals, so for me to stay there for a month was a huge battle. I mean, a huge, huge one. As soon as I started to breathe, I knew I would get better. I just knew it. I said, ‘I will get better. I will get better.’ And every day, slowly and surely, everything started to work, kicking into places, and kidneys started to work, and my heart started to be normal again. And when I woke up, I had about … I was so wired up to the point where I can't bend and move. So every single day, they would take one wire off, so I knew. I just had to count how many I’ve got left, so I know. By the end of the month, I had two left, which were in my neck. And by the time I'm leaving the hospital, I had nothing in there, which was great.
The feeling that I miss is that you have in that you play in the Premier League. There’s no money in the world will buy that. You can't … the excitement of going to the game of football. Just at any level, you can't. You can't buy it. And to me, from now, I will watch from the sidelines as a fan. But I know deep down, it kills me. My aims and objective from now to this day forward, the rest of my life, is I’ve got uni work to finish by Friday. Which is deadline on Friday, Friday morning at 12 o'clock, so I need to make sure that I send that in tomorrow. That's number one. Just spend time with my kids and spend time with my family. Those are the most important things. And finish my uni course, and qualify to be a journalist. And from there, see what happens.
Fundamentally, I think what makes Fabrice Fabrice is just all of the obstacles that he's overcome. Fabrice is a fighter. He's a warrior. And anything that you put in front of him, he takes it as a challenge.
End transcript: Motivation through adversity: The Fabrice Muamba story
Motivation through adversity: The Fabrice Muamba story
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Fabrice Muamba was born in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) on 6 April 1988 but moved to England at the age of 11. His football career began in 2002 when he asked for a trial at Arsenal and he joined their Youth Academy in 2004 – a year later he turned professional. He later played for Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers but in March 2012 he suffered a cardiac arrest during a televised FA Cup match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur. While he did recover from this, he was forced to retire from professional football in the August of that year.

It is clear that Muamba has had to make a number of changes to his life over the last three years. While you are watching the video clip below, you should consider the following questions:

  1. What factors do you think motivate Fabrice Muamba to play football and to succeed in general life?
  2. How has Fabrice Muamba overcome the obstacles he has faced in his life?
  3. To what extent do you identify with the factors that motivate Fabrice Muamba or are you motivated in a different way?


  1. Fabrice seems to be motivated to play football by the love and enjoyment of the sport. He talks about enjoying playing football from a young age – and getting his school work done so that he could play football – and how he always wanted to be a professional footballer. It is interesting that he wanted to keep playing after his cardiac arrest but was advised not to. When he talks about only being able to watch football he says how much he misses playing and that ‘deep down, it kills me’. Shauna, Fabrice’s wife, describes how driven he is to win and how he always tries his best. She says he is always looking to be a better player and a better person.
  2. There are three main obstacles that Fabrice has had to overcome. Firstly, coming to this country from Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), and having to integrate into the education system and face the language barrier. He quickly realised how important it was to learn the language so he could learn and live in the UK. Secondly, there has been much rejection in his path to becoming a Premier footballer, as he was rejected initially by the Arsenal Academy and then sold by Arsenal after two appearances. He overcame this by dropping down a league and then working hard to gain promotion with Birmingham City. Thirdly, the largest obstacle was his cardiac arrest due to a congenital heart condition. Anyone who has had to retire from the sport they love can understand a small amount of the pain he must have experienced through retiring at the age of 23. However, due to his own drive, and attitude to education, he is working to gain meaningful employment and appreciating life outside of sport with his family. He has the attitude that these things are challenges rather than obstacles.
  3. Fabrice seems to be strongly motivated by internal forces rather than external factors, such as fame or money. The effect of internal and external motivating factors is a recurring theme of this study topic and you may find that you are motivated more strongly by one than the other. Fabrice also touches on the effects of the environment and other people on motivation when he describes his first match as a Premiership player. You may find that these also influence you.

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