People are motivated by challenge but if the challenge becomes to great, their motivation will wain. One of the most demotivating experiences , is when you realise that your efforts are creating diminishing returns. Take Crypto currency such as Bitcoin for example. As time goes on the coin becomes harder and harder to mine with an ever increasing amount of power needed to produce the same result.
The lottery on the other hand retains its motivated followers, as it actually doesn’t get harder. The odds have always been stacked against a win to the tune of millions to one. However this is not perceived as more difficult today as when it first rolled out.
Motivation is also relative. We are motivated when we can see a chance of success. Everything from military selection to academic hopefuls needs to pass sufficient numbers to attract the next generation to have a go. These hurdles for success have sported a whole industry of training in teaching people how to pass something. Understanding the subject or fulfilling specific tasks is no longer enough. You need to actually learn what the profession, industry or college actually require and so special courses are tailored to crack the secrets. The internet is full of experts who will give you, for a price, the lowdown on mastering a certain piece of marketing or algorithm . I can think of acquaintances who failed to achieve a certain goal on several occasions only to succeed after attending a specialist course designed simply for attainment of a pass once they knew what the examiner wanted.
Take for example a quiz. If the questions are too difficult contestants will soon give up whereas if they are too easy they will find it boring. What they want are questions that stretch them but not much. It reminds me of Hooks Law that says that a spring will stretch in direct proportion to the amount of force applied. However if the elastic limit is exceeded the spring will become distorted and will no longer spring back into place
Motivation is usually the result of setting defined goals but the goal has to be obtainable. We can have a tremendous goal to climb Everest or become a chief executive but these won’t motivate us until we formulate interim goals that stretch us but are more achievable on the way.