Achievement and the Meaning of Effort

The Fixation with Goals and How the Concept of Motivation Replaced Human Will
  • Lukas Held


This article argues that our understanding of achievement depends on our understanding of the will. Since the 1950s the concept of the will was gradually replaced by the concept of motivation. I will show how the human will was reconceptualized, changing it from a bodily bound feature of character to a goal-oriented mindset, which led to the disconnection of effort from exhaustibility. This produced a new understanding of achievement, emphasizing the ability to exceed one’s comfort zone irrespective of bodily fatigue. The decline of the will can be attributed to its ties to a metaphysical concept of character whereas the rise of motivation can be attributed to the discovery of expectancy as a key activating factor of human behaviour. This discovery was made possible by the newly developed Thematic Apperception Test.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ZürichSchweiz

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