Do Motivational Quotes Actually Benefit our Productivity or Well-being?
I am a sucker for an inspirational notebook or a brightly coloured pen with a motivational ‘you got this’ plastered on the side. However, many people debate whether such motivational quotes and phrases have any significant effect on our productivity or well-being.
Many businesses use motivational quotes around the office whether this is through posters, wall art or accessories. Organisations such as gyms also use bold wording to encourage us not to give up! My local gym even has a plaque in the loo reminding us that ‘every squat counts’. While this may be amusing and entertaining for a few seconds is it actually beneficial?
Workings of the Human Mind
Motivation can occur in two ways, this is either through intrinsic or extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors for example may involve taking a course or being involved in a project because you have a genuine interest in the subject and want to pursue a career in it. Extrinsic factors may involve taking a course because it will please your manager and you want to continue to be paid. Based on this, it is often believed that intrinsic factors could explain the effects of motivational quotes.
Achieving a goal takes effort and determination. Therefore, could it be that a well-placed phrase within the office can provide the stimulus needed to boost our self-belief? Or could it be that such visuals are just an employer’s attempt to seek more from employees without monetary incentives?
Image: WeWork Old Street
What the Professionals Say
Well, according to Ward Farnsworth, Dean at University of Texas, School of Law, this concept may actually have motivational power. Talking to Fast Company Farnsworth says that people have an, “appetite for well-expressed wisdom, motivational or otherwise.”
Farnsworth also believes that it is not just the meaning behind motivational quotes or phrases that resonate with people but the details of the wording that is also important. While two people may express similar sentiments, the way in which the words are arranged may determine how pleasing or convincing the statement comes across. Apparently our brains love a bit of rhyme and rhythm.
The power of words has throughout history proven to be an influential force that has lead countries and inspired millions. According to media psychology expert and communications consultant Scott Sobel, this is an important detail to remember when choosing the most stimulating quote to hang in the office. He says, “Humans are aspirational. We want to look up to role models and leaders and follow what they ask. Leaders and their words–inspirational quotes–affect us on a primal level.”
All about Semantics
Choosing the right inspiration for the desk or office is much more complex than it may first appear. Although the simplest reminders may be enough at certain times, when the wall is well and truly blocking our creative flow, something a little more heavy-duty may be necessary.
The best motivational quotes are those that evoke an emotional response, therefore appealing to the reader on a personal level. Motivational words that are contextually relevant to a person and their goals are most likely to connect with their emotions. For example, using a quote that evokes the start-up mentality of Mark Zuckerberg for those working at a technology company may produce the best results.
Whether an inspirational quote has any effect on a person may also be down to each individual’s mind set. People that are open to the possible effects of motivational quotes may be more likely to benefit from their presence. According to psychologist and motivation expert Jonathan Fader, PhD, a quote with strong imagery that appeals to aspirations can have a powerful effect on individuals, changing their view point.
Invest in Inspiration
If all this talk of motivational quotes and positive outlooks has gotten you in the mood for a little hit of inspiration, here are a few of our favourite office based enthusiasm boosters. Enjoy!