The psychology of self-motivation | Scott Geller | TEDxVirginiaTech

  • Published on Dec 5, 2013
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    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. He has written numerous articles and books, including When No One's Watching: Living and Leading Self-motivation. Scott will examine how we can become self-motivated in "The Psychology of Self-Motivation."
    In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Comments • 1 878

  • sharon olsen
    sharon olsen 3 days ago

    Literally the BEST TED talk I have watched in a LONG time .. and there have been some others that were pretty awesome.. but this one .. THIS ONE is worth watching .. more than once !

  • Mounir B
    Mounir B 4 days ago +1

    Love the story and the message ! It's true that we need each other, the coach, teacher, masters, father, mother, are crucial to us ... Doing things only for yourself does not bring motivation.

  • Kelina Margerit
    Kelina Margerit 4 days ago

    How do you motivate broken students? I've tried and tried.

  • Dee M
    Dee M 6 days ago

    I'm hungry.. its midnight in Wisconsin and Im hungry.

  • Wholesome Meli
    Wholesome Meli 9 days ago

    This California closet add dios mío!🙄

  • Miss Telma Farida Tee
    Miss Telma Farida Tee 12 days ago

    I am a success seeker not a failure avoider

  • W YT
    W YT 12 days ago

    I experience failure all the time TT

  • Jacob Contereas
    Jacob Contereas 13 days ago

    Looks like Hal from malcolm in the middle

  • Nitika
    Nitika 15 days ago

    Very nice

  • Han Sim
    Han Sim 19 days ago

    6:52 When you perceive choice, you perceive motivation

  • Besidju
    Besidju 20 days ago

    Nice to see Ross's Dad still working.

  • Casey Wilson
    Casey Wilson 20 days ago


  • The Book of JJ
    The Book of JJ 22 days ago

    I loved this talk but when he said "it's not based on common's based in research" I struggled. I'd feel more comfortable pulling the trigger on things based on common sense since my hope is that research will ultimately point directly to it. Unfortunately, sometimes research doesn't make sense; common or otherwise.

  • Erin Fagan
    Erin Fagan 22 days ago

    This guy is an incredible speaker!

    THEJEDEYEMASTER 23 days ago

    I cant take this guy seriously. get that fuckin shirt fitted.

  • Jarvis  Jovan Johnson
    Jarvis Jovan Johnson 23 days ago

    I'm watching this I'm 2 hours away from Allentown 😎✊🏾

  • Badrul Muneer
    Badrul Muneer 27 days ago


  • suhail latiff
    suhail latiff 28 days ago

    Anyone else trying the drum role now

  • Aryan Thakur
    Aryan Thakur Month ago

    One of the best videos on RU-clip 🔥

  • TrueCalamity
    TrueCalamity Month ago +1

    started watching this to learn how to get self motivated .... lost the motivation to watch it after 40 seconds

  • Peter Ottosen
    Peter Ottosen Month ago

    Habit needs a little bit of discipline to get going. But motivation is fickle and fleeting. But once the habitual behaviour kicks in motivation will be plentiful.

  • 서서3.35.1
    서서3.35.1 Month ago

    너무 감사합니다~~~ 👌🏻👌🏻

  • Olivia B
    Olivia B Month ago

    I had to muster motivation to click on this. Every time I do the smallest thing nowadays my chest feels tight from anxiety. My soul is so tired. I’m so sick of my life. I don’t trust that if I let go of my fear and scepticism and negativity, that things will be stable. If I can’t ever look after myself physically, mentally, emotionally. I’m a “success seeker” (love hard work) but my mental illnesses stop me from feeling free to be around in the public space. If I had a better self body image and self esteem I feel like I could do anything and everything. But I get sick from anxiety for years now. I think I even forgot my dreams and stopped hoping. I know I’m feeling sorry for myself but eh that’s how I feel right now

  • alex cartier
    alex cartier Month ago

    i’m a life coach and i slap my students in the face to motivate them, i’ve found that physical trauma is the best way to make people change , of course i have them sign wavers not holding me accountable for any physical trauma they experience during out sessions but getting slapped in the face is the best way to succeed.

  • kevin bao jr.
    kevin bao jr. Month ago

    That's my psych professor

  • Ani :P
    Ani :P Month ago

    Well, its kinda strange that the indacode is parted in a actual some kind of emitment in the andore.

  • rohit panwar
    rohit panwar Month ago

    Why you stoped there.. i want to here more of those drum beats

  • Philipp the Sock
    Philipp the Sock Month ago

    Doesn't a watch go on the left arm? 🤔⌚

  • Debmalya Ray
    Debmalya Ray Month ago


  • Sonia Phulwani
    Sonia Phulwani Month ago

    Incredible 😯

  • Pranshu Nema
    Pranshu Nema Month ago +1

    one of the best TED video

  • vildan keven
    vildan keven Month ago

    please add TURKISH subtitles

  • quanathan
    quanathan Month ago

    i love you dude

  • Stephen Conger
    Stephen Conger Month ago

    If I watch this to learn how to self motivate, haven't I already failed?

  • linda smith
    linda smith Month ago

    He Is an Amazing Speaker, Full Of Energy and Very Uplifting and Most Definitely a Self-Motivator!!!Thank You For Your Support Mr Scott Geller.

  • brandi carlisle
    brandi carlisle 2 months ago

    Hey im curious ... If u have a theory u would like to Bring attention to a ted talks personnel... Where or who would u email or message ? Pleeease

  • Zahwa Haddad
    Zahwa Haddad 2 months ago +1

    Watching in 2019 😻❤️

  • Nightmare
    Nightmare 2 months ago

    I've heard the cookie poem, but in a more straightforward way that wasn't a poem on Quora so I can't really think independent or interdependent. I knew what was happening all along.

  • Felix Bruyns
    Felix Bruyns 2 months ago

    Self-motivation only goes so far... there comes a crisis point at which each of us will realize that he or she is helpless. At this point, there are only two option: Despair or prayer. You tell me which option makes more sense when there is literally nothing to lose.

  • vihpol
    vihpol 2 months ago

    Stop talking about how a leader should motivate people and then call it self motivation boo no SELF. SELF motivation. Bye

  • Արման
    Արման 2 months ago

    The talk was on a very complex topic broken down in such a small and easy pieces, just like the drum roll he delivered it so competently. Also you can feel how he tries to motivate everyone, if I were there I would have stood up and clapped to give back some of that motivation.

    YASH AGGARWAL 15BCE0087 2 months ago +3

    every individual must be able to answer these three questions before deciding to do a task:
    1. Do I believe that I can do it? Do I have the time, training and knowledge?
    2. Will it work?
    3. Is it worth it?
    If the answer is yes to all these questions then go for it.
    We should not be afraid to ask for help. Humans are interdependent animals. We can only move forward while working as a society.
    whenever we feel overwhelmed by any goal that seems unachievable at first, break down the task into parts and do it again, step-by-step you will surely progress and ultimately achieve your goal.
    we can always learn from each other, we just need to have the humility to ask for feedback

  • yash aggarwal
    yash aggarwal 2 months ago

    I am a final year btech student.
    For almost past 6 years I have been thinking about changing my subject from science to commerce. This video really gave me a push to pursue my passion and as soon as I graduate from my University I will pursue mba

  • Handy Fox
    Handy Fox 2 months ago

    I was looking for motivation to “live” not “do”. I don’t have a problem “doing”. Where can I find that kind of motivation?

  • SwishiestSumo 86
    SwishiestSumo 86 2 months ago

    Who else here to watch b4 test thursday?

  • Anthony Latimer
    Anthony Latimer 2 months ago

    These teachings have changed my life. I’ve literally gone from the bottom to the top!!!! who knew it wasn’t about working physically harder or waiting for someone to do something or a lucky brake all the power is actually in your imagination, tho you have to believe as well. The thoughts alone are not enough and self knowledge alone is not enough. The combination of thought,feelings and action That’s the ticket !!!!

  • Me Likey Likey
    Me Likey Likey 2 months ago +1

    I finally feel motivated to take a shower:)

  • William Ribardo
    William Ribardo 2 months ago


  • Utsav Bharti
    Utsav Bharti 2 months ago

    its truly a nice video sir. i was feeling demotivated and shattered because of the hard time that i am facing right now but your video truly showed me that why i started and whether i have the capacity to do it or not. It was fear of consequences and community that left me incapacitated.. but seriously thanks for this self motivation video..

  • ali henderson
    ali henderson 2 months ago

    I heart is literally bounding - I feel so motivated right now - this is exactly what i needed to hear! Also this relates to me so much casue im about to finish a degree is sociology, I love it.

  • shakir johnson
    shakir johnson 2 months ago +1

    Damnit i thought this video would solve all my problems

  • Emersom Farias
    Emersom Farias 2 months ago

    Amazing speaker with great thoughts!!! Hello from Brazil!!! Here I Am

  • Booker ana
    Booker ana 2 months ago

    Man... this guy has a full life time experience and that's so precious. He's a great speaker too! he could transmit his knowledge to others outstandingly.. I admire this type of people. Thanks Doc.

  • Master Thomas
    Master Thomas 2 months ago

    Give this man The Cookie.

  • GnarbySZN🐍
    GnarbySZN🐍 3 months ago

    This guy would be a good joker for a Batman movie 😂😂

  • Benevolent Zombie
    Benevolent Zombie 3 months ago +1


  • UltraStormGamers
    UltraStormGamers 3 months ago

    This men is a genious! ahah :) I really loved this presentation

  • Gunjan Goyal
    Gunjan Goyal 3 months ago +1

    He plays the drum so nicely😮😮😮😮

  • Infinity Equals Zero
    Infinity Equals Zero 3 months ago

    Give the perception of competence, teach that consequences (good and bad) drive us, let them percieve choice, and let them know that we're all in this together as a community because we need each other.

  • Agha Mohsin
    Agha Mohsin 3 months ago

    amazing speah...

  • C R
    C R 3 months ago +1

    Love the story of the drum roll! Awesome speaker.

  • jotham tony
    jotham tony 3 months ago

    this guy is the best!!!!!

  • Carlos Uribe
    Carlos Uribe 3 months ago +1

    The poem is everything 💯💯👏

  • momokokochuchuchu
    momokokochuchuchu 3 months ago

    that was wonderful i feel warm and fuzzy inside. also the cookie story made me laugh bc i usually enjoy sharing my food so

  • TheLastHeley
    TheLastHeley 3 months ago

    Captivating speech, thank you.

  • Lauren Rose Dobreny
    Lauren Rose Dobreny 3 months ago


  • JOG
    JOG 3 months ago

    The country music oxymoron joke got me 😂

  • Nilesh Garje
    Nilesh Garje 3 months ago +1

    Emotional... .

    GATES TOM 3 months ago

    I think If you need a community to get motivate, it just like a kind of " call of duty" right?

  • Berkay Dursun
    Berkay Dursun 3 months ago

    Türkçe altyazı istiyoruz biraderim.

  • Hector Vetch
    Hector Vetch 3 months ago +1

    I don’t think I even have enough dedication to watch the entire 15 minutes of this

    MY FAVESTATION 3 months ago

    anyone else find watching this, at this moment, is ironic?

  • reng rag
    reng rag 3 months ago

    great lesson....

  • Sinc. Art
    Sinc. Art 3 months ago +1

    Shout out to 2019 procrastinators... Love you guys!!

  • Evan Wilson
    Evan Wilson 3 months ago

    I needed this right now. I've got someone I don't want to lose and to do so I'm going to need to change my attitude and thought processes. This video summed up what I was feeling and taught me about learned helplessness, which I'm definitely not free of yet.

  • 4 Successful People
    4 Successful People 4 months ago

    Change your life today. Don't gamble on the future, act now, without delay.

  • Angel Gupta
    Angel Gupta 4 months ago


  • Sam Washburn
    Sam Washburn 4 months ago

    He's incredible wow. Imagine his as your professor

  • trap
    trap 4 months ago

    4 C'S Towards Self-Motivation

  • nguyễn đức
    nguyễn đức 4 months ago

    i want to study english .can i want to help me ?

  • Hamza Iqbal Sufi
    Hamza Iqbal Sufi 4 months ago

    Laws of Success/Laws of Universe
    💚Thank to increase it
    (Law of Gratitude),and overall adopt attitude of gratitude
    💚Think intensely to work it intensely
    💚Match the frequency of reality you want(e.g by reading relevant material)
    💚Attach good emotion with work which gives you success
    💚Think you are your goal
    💚Think Allah(god in Arabic)/creator of universe is making you your goal
    💚Pray to get close to universal kindness and mercy also connect with it
    💚Think I am one of those lucky exceptional ones
    💚Avoid even genuine blaming
    💚Ask/pray for others to get what you want for yourself
    💚Give to others to get what you want for yourself (Law of Exchange)
    💚Be conscious of your negative emotion and avoid them
    💚Focus and repeat to yourself your ideal story of abundance
    💚Do smart radical action to achieve your goal
    💚Remember the trial that comes will strengthen you
    💚Be at peace with what happens to you
    💚Wear and imagine and be in the state of event of your past successes
    💚Let go of what doesn't serve you
    💚Accept the present moment as an opportunity for the great success that is coming
    💚Meditate to get a positive higher frequency
    💚Stop doing empathy
    💚Do above steps daily

  • S Sahoo
    S Sahoo 4 months ago

    This man is really a motivated speaker. The way he delivers is awesome. I have watched this video several times.

  • Titania G
    Titania G 4 months ago +1

    I wasn't even motivated to watch the video, I only clicked to comment.

  • MrCoffeeMan
    MrCoffeeMan 4 months ago

    Soulja Boy liked this video btw

  • IokoThePanda
    IokoThePanda 4 months ago

    Thank you WOW!

  • Ingram Fry
    Ingram Fry 4 months ago

    If the keys to motivation are three logical questions why try to motivate anyone? We should simply try to inform. We should be in equal parts motivational as well as demotivational.

  • PlagueCookie
    PlagueCookie 4 months ago

    remember that time Jack from Lost was on Star Trek DS9??

  • Suruthi Ramesh
    Suruthi Ramesh 4 months ago

    Self-motivation is important in every individual's life to keep oneself driven towards the goals we have in life. It makes us feel competent. It encourages us to do better. This video shows us how to aspire to be motivated and make others feel motivated, to take up a work that we feel worthwhile to feel and be self-motivated. Because at the end of the day, we want to achieve something out of it. We need to feel that we are competent enough, to believe that we are capable of doing something, to feel recognized for something we've achieved. This motivates us to further do better. Also, it is important to understand that taking up a task is not just to avoid failing at it, but to look at the bright-side, to be successful in completing it. It is about learning how to communicate to oneself to feel motivated.
    Another topic that this video threw light on is that we don't always have to be independent. It's okay to ask for help, to have a sense of community, to help each other out. It is about being inter-dependent, it is about helping our peers and people around us feel motivated as well. It is about empowering ourselves and those around us. This empowerment can be evaluated based on the three questions that the speaker shares with us in this video. He explains how we need to accept feedback with humility and to have courage to speak up. Scott Geller uses research and his personal experiences to elucidate how to self-motivate oneself in this lively talk.
    I would like to share my opinion on how to self-motivate oneself. Self-motivation can be achieved when one takes responsibility for his/her own results. This makes one to feel more accountable for it. It is about setting goals, working on them and achieving them. It is about analyzing one's own capabilities and striving to be better at it to realize one's vision in life. It is important to set a target and not just stop there. We need to make sure we achieve it, to see ourselves where we envisioned to be.

  • sasha v
    sasha v 4 months ago

    Being an engineering student, I have felt my motivation level drop over the years due the overwhelming number of tasks, family problems and the pressure to “not fail”. Most of the people around me were focused on securing any job right after graduation than to fight for their passion and facing failures. I felt myself diverting away from my goals, and was never satisfied with anything I did. I was on the verge of giving up my goals thinking that they were impractical.
    This talk helped me to reflect over my past actions and remind myself that I am capable of reaching my goals by placing more efforts and believing in myself. After all doing what I love makes me more competent and satisfied with my work. It’s more important to surround ourselves with people who encourage us and make us feel empowered to fight for our dreams.

  • Janani Smiley
    Janani Smiley 4 months ago

    You are inspirational...! you are great speaker...! Beautiful message this will be very memorable ,however I enjoyed it so much . The best lecture I've ever had. When we decide to do something extraordinary, society wants to pull us back. They have jealousy within their heart. They Demotivate us at every single step...
    In this video you have shared the way of dealing with haters and negative people and i hope this video will inspire you and motivate you.
    It's so important to show young people, and adults alike, the difference between a success seeker instead of a failure avoided. Our public schools are being forced into failure avoidance mode with the focus on high stakes testing. I too often saw the beaten down spirits of young minds who knew nothing but failure avoidance. My work was cut out for me to share the joy of learning, the joy of seeking knowledge, the joy of seeking success because it is worth it The ultimate problem for motivation is listening to the wrong voice in your head. The mastery of ones emotions leads to freedom and motivation to achieve. Learning to recognize the ego is primarily the way to achieve all Scott speaks on with out the strategies required to motivate oneself. When you recognize and know who you really are motivation comes naturally. It is not something you need to work at. Blessings.
    Don't pay attention to the haters, Work hard in silence let your success make the noise.
    "If you say i will become the successful person the world would not hear , if you succeed and tell something the world will hear"
    All the best for to achieve your goals......
    Thank you Scott Geller sir


    Effects of self-efficacy on students’ behavior
    Self-efficacy may sound like a uniformly desirable quality, but research as well as teachers’ experience suggests that its effects are a bit more complicated than they first appear. Self-efficacy has three main effects, each of which has both a “dark” or undesirable side and a positive or desirable side. The first effect is that self-efficacy makes students more willing to choose tasks where they already feel confident of succeeding. This effect is almost inevitable, given the definition of the concept of self-efficacy. For teachers, the effect on choice can be either welcome or not, depending on circumstances. If a student believes that he or she can solve mathematical problems, then the student is more likely to attempt the mathematics homework that the teacher assigns. Unfortunately the converse is also true. If a student believes that he or she is incapable of math, then the student is less likely to attempt the math homework , regardless of the student’s actual ability in math. Since self-efficacy is self-constructed, furthermore, it is also possible for students to miscalculate or misperceive their true skill, and the misperceptions themselves can have complex effects on students’ motivations. From a teacher’s point of view, all is well even if students overestimate their capacity but actually do succeed at a relevant task anyway, or if they underestimate their capacity, yet discover that they can succeed and raise their self-efficacy beliefs as a result. All may not be well, though, if students do not believe that they can succeed and therefore do not even try, or if students overestimate their capacity by a wide margin, but are disappointed unexpectedly by failure and lower their self-efficacy beliefs. A second effect of high self-efficacy is to increase a persistence at relevant tasks. If you believe that you can solve crossword puzzles, but encounter one that takes longer than usual, then you are more likely to work longer at the puzzle until you really do solve it. This is probably a desirable behavior in many situations, unless the persistence happens to interfere with other, more important tasks. Giving up early may often be undesirable because it deprives you of a chance to improve your skill by persisting. Then again, the consequent lack of success because of giving up may provide a useful incentive to improve your crossword skills. And again, misperceptions of capacity make a difference. Overestimating your capacity by a lot might lead you not to prepare for or focus on a task properly, and thereby impair your performance. So as with choosing tasks, the effects of self-efficacy vary from one individual to another and one situation to another. The teacher’s task is therefore two-fold: first, to discern the variations, and second, to encourage the positive self-efficacy beliefs.

  • Prabhav Shrivastava
    Prabhav Shrivastava 4 months ago

    The video talks about motivating yourself and others. There are three questions which we can ask ourselves, and if all the responses are positive, we are sure to be self-motivated. These are the very three questions to be asked:
    • Can I do it? ( Based on your level of training)
    • Will it work? (Based on your education)
    • Is it worth it? (Motivational part)
    The thought of avoiding failure or seeking success empowers us. Also, we can empower others by these :
    • Giving them the perception of competence.
    • Consequences drive us.
    • Perception of choice.
    • We live in a community and we need each other.

  • Rishika Batra
    Rishika Batra 4 months ago


  • Drishti Kedia
    Drishti Kedia 4 months ago +9

    I'm a third year Btech student . I really learnt alot from this video. Every morning I am terrified of the tasks that lay ahead of me . This is because most of the times we are told to choose profession over passion and we never really have a choice. But what is most important is to feel self motivated and inspire ourselves and everyone around us. We need to believe in response efficacy i.e believing our behavior will lead to certain outcome. We are all controlled by consequences i.e postive and aversive. Positive consequences makes us feel good and we feel controlled /negatively enforced due to aversive consequences .All of this depends on how we communicate with ourselves and with others and work for the opportunities that come our way.We must sit down and talk to ourselves about the choices we have like a success seeker rather than a failure avoider .Having a sense of community is really vital in order to feel self motivated . Having each others back and being interdependent rather than independent is must. When you see the opportunities in the things you do you feel competent and motivated. When you see the positive side to everything it leads to self motivation. It all depends on the person's perspective towards himself and his surroundings. Hence we feel empowered when we are self motivated.

  • geetika gopi
    geetika gopi 4 months ago

    Rules, regulations and restrictions. Definitely something that could be in the way self motivation. But again it’s not necessarily something bad. Loved the way Scott Geller said how self motivation is not doing something we have to, but something we want to. Also through this talk, the very essence that I had learnt was that how self motivation is directly linked with empowerment.

  • Daniel Inthelionsden
    Daniel Inthelionsden 4 months ago


  • Dhruv Goel
    Dhruv Goel 4 months ago

    It is a wonderful video which has helped me to think about life from a different perspective. In society, we have to work within boundaries so that people can be held accountable for something. But beyond boundaries is something completely different, we have to go beyond to fulfill our call of duty. Empowerment is a key factor which means to "get it done", but feeling it leads to self-motivation.
    We need to ask three questions:
    1) Can you do it? (SELF-EFFICACY)
    2) Will it work? (RESPONSE-EFFICACY)
    3) Is it worth it? (CONSEQUENCES)
    B.F. Skinner taught us selection by consequences, i.e. what are the consequences of our selections and how to face them and overcome them. We all face and learn from our consequences. In the end, it is all about the choices we have and how we embrace them.

  • radhika agarwal
    radhika agarwal 4 months ago


  • Gargi Agrawal
    Gargi Agrawal 4 months ago +3

    I'm a second year B-TECH student . Most of the time we are asked to choose a profession over our passion and never is mostly there a "choice". But between all of this it's really important to be self motivated and to inspire ourselves and everyone around us.
    Everyone around us has the mindset that We need to work "to not to get fail" . Most of the people here in colleges are focused more on not being left jobless and suffer the consequences rather than developing their skills and this how they feel controlled. When you see the opportunities in the things you do you feel competent and motivated. When you see the positive side to everything it leads to self motivation. It's the way you tell it to yourself and to others that counts. We also need to learn the habit of accepting feedback that eventually helps us grow and feel empowered. We need to help people around us to feel competent at the same time.
    It all lies in the perspective.

  • Sugunesh Vallinayagam
    Sugunesh Vallinayagam 4 months ago

    2019 ?