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Positives and Negatives of Motivation

Published on January 17, 2020

It’s consuming.

The fire in our bones to get up each morning and do our due diligence in the weight room, on the field, in the envisioning of reaching our deepest dreams. It draws us close, bids us to bring everything we do to make these dreams reality.

A64A1477Being the best is a force in our lives that spurs us deeper into training and lasering in on where we want to be athletically. Whatever our motivation, we often do everything we can to make ourselves stand out and rise above the rest.

Many good things come from our motivation, but sometimes our best may become detrimental and take our focus off what matters. It’s a fine line, learning to walk between the balance of where our desire lies and what it takes to make it real. If we aren’t careful, it can lead us to unhealthy mindsets and motivation and send us off course.

We want the best, but at what cost?


Let’s look at how each motivation factor we mentioned in the previous article could be positive and negative:


The Want to Win

Positive: Allows us to dig in when it gets tough, to inspire and encourage our players and teammates to give our best and push forward together.

Negative: Turning to a “win at all costs” mentality, tempting us to take illegal substances, bribery, mental and verbal assaults to ensure we and our team get to the top.



Positive: In a way, by being the best, we can bring recognition to our team, coaches, teammates, and even causes we care about. We have a platform to create awareness for what’s important to us.

Negative: It becomes a selfish ambition, to find our name glowing in lights, to hear crowds cheer for us and in the process, push away the people who have helped us along the way.


Something to Prove

Positive: Using the naysayers to push ourselves to a higher level, to show that we can indeed accomplish great things.

Negative: A growing bitterness takes root and overrides our team mentality, and we press into toxic motivation. We operate with a chip on our shoulder and mentality that bypasses any help.



Positive: If we have individual and team accomplishments to achieve, we push ourselves to reach them. If we want first team all-conference, it’s what we set our minds on throughout the season.

Negative: The attention can turn inwards, focusing on self rather than team. If it becomes about collecting as many accolades as possible, our entire mindset may move into a selfish attitude.


Desire to be Part of a Family

Positive: It’s good to share common goals and band together toward them, and this feeling of finding home in the locker room is incentive to perform at our best for those competing beside us.

Negative: We can idolize our teammates, coaches, and the game itself, putting competition on a pedestal and becoming so afraid of letting down our “family” it paralyzes our performance and living.


For God’s Glory

Positive: This is what fuels us at our core, what pushes us past our limitations as we fix our eyes on Him, using every ounce of our abilities and effort to point people to Him, no matter what.

Negative: It’s not about wins and losses. We can warp our minds in mistaking results equal God’s glory. God most cares about the abilities He’s given us and how we use our gifts to honor Him.



These motivations aren’t harmful in themselves, but we do need to pay attention to how we approach them. It’s wise to not let them consume us, and to balance out our sport with a wider perspective. Be aware of how your motivations can be helpful and hurtful, and constantly assess your why behind what you do.



Consider: Where do you tend to lean into the negative end of motivation? How can you turn it into a healthier mindset?

Action: Pick a motivation from above and come up with your own pros and cons list. Make a point to strike a balance using it to better yourself while consciously keeping it from turning into a negative.

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Check The Health of Your Motivation

      Take up the 7 Day Challenge of FCA's YouVersion study and see where your heart is:    

Heart of a Competitor