Performance- Lack of Ability, or Low Motivation

For every hundred men hacking away at the branches of a diseased tree, only one will stoop to inspect the roots.

– Chinese proverb.

  • Ability- is the person's aptitude, as well as the training and resources supplied to perform.
  • Motivation- can be defined as your desire and commitment.

Someone with 100 percent motivation and 75 percent performance ability can often achieve above-average performance. 

Diagnosing Poor Performance

So, before you can fix poor performance, you have to understand its cause. Does it come from lack of ability or low motivation?

Ask yourself: did you commit to making enough of an effort in every aspect required to achieve your goal, or is the real issue your ability?

Low ability may be associated with the following:

  • Reaching for results out of your physical range.
  • Low skill and knowledge.

Do you have what you need to perform well and meet your expectations?

  • Research any additional skills or knowledge you might need.
  • Do you have the support system you need- home, work, etc ?
  • Are you able to complete the training necessary to achieve your goal?

People will often blame external sources for their poor performance before admitting their own fault.

Take the first step to seeing where some things might be lacking and be willing to make the required changes.

Do you have the skills required to do what you are expecting? 

People may get into ruts, and fail to recognize these issues until poor performance finally highlights them.

Improving Motivation

Sometimes poor performance has its roots in low motivation. There are key things you can put into practice that may improve your motivation

  • Goal setting is a well-recognized aspect of performance improvement. You must understand what's expected to reach the goal and know what you need to do to improve. 
  • Regularly assessing if you are staying on track
  • Complete the necessary training.
  • Securing the resources and skills needed.

Motivation can take many different shapes. Am I motivated to train and hit a certain effort in that particular session is one thing, but am I motivated to do everything required to achieve my goal? This can be in areas you might not expect. Am I motivated to miss that fun party? Am I motivated to go to bed at 9p.m. to get the required sleep to recover? Am I motivated to limit alcohol intake to improve performance? Am I motivated to get the correct nutrition daily? Am I motivated to make the sacrifices required to achieve that goal, mentally, physically, in my day to day life? 

Ask yourself questions and constantly revisit your goals.

How did I do today in this session, with recovery, nutrition, organization, execution, etc.?

Recognize when you do well and celebrate even the smallest progress. 

You need to understand the root of a performance problem before you can fully address it. Ability and motivation go together to impact performance, and the most successful performance improvement efforts combine strategies for improving each. This creates a positive impact where people are able to reach their performance potential. 


TrainingMarilyn Chychota