Find Out What to Focus on Next with This Motivation Matrix


Melanie Pinola

November 2, 2015

You probably have a lot of activities you’re interested in or involved in, and knowing where to focus can be tough. This exercise helps you find the activities to keep working on so you can increase your confidence and motivation.

The exercise comes from Tina Seelig, author of INSIGHT OUT: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and Into the World, excerpted on Medium. Put a sticky note in each quadrant and list an activity that fits the description:

In the upper right quadrant each person puts an activity for which they have high passion and high confidence; in the upper left quadrant they affix one for an activity for which they have high passion and low confidence. In the lower quadrants they place an activity for which they have low passion and high confidence, and one for which they have low passion and low confidence. For many people this is a surprisingly challenging task, since they don’t routinely use these terms to describe the pursuits in their life.

From this exercise, you can see the things you want to do but usually don’t (upper left quadrant) as well as the things you’ve mastered but don’t really enjoy doing or aren’t motivated to do (bottom right quadrant).

And then you can take action, either through practice to improve your skills or through changing your mindset:

It is up to each of us to actively decide which items we want to have in each quadrant, and to determine what percentage of our time will be spent pursuing tasks that fall on one side of the matrix or the other.

To move from the left-hand side of the matrix toward the right-hand side requires an increase in confidence. The only way to increase confidence is with actions: practicing skills leads to mastery and confidence. And, to move from the lower half of the matrix to the upper half requires an increase in your drive. The only way to increase your drive is to change your attitude. This might mean making a pursuit a priority, throwing off anxiety that the goal is out of reach, or giving yourself permission to fail on the road to success.

It’s an unusual, but possibly eye-opening exercise that could help you find your path.


This article was written by Melanie Pinola from Lifehacker and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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