Date of Publishing:
January 30, 2022

© picture alliance

Without Motivation There Is No Movement

Jörg Zeyringer

Jörg Zeyringer is a motivational psychologist and author. He gathered experience as a lifeguard, unskilled construction worker, disc jockey, and a temporary officer in the Austrian army. Since 1993, Jörg Zeyringer has worked as a trainer and coach in the health sector, business and professional sport. As a mental coach, he looks after trainers and players in the highest Austrian and international football leagues.

Jörg Zeyringer understands motivation as a "synonym for hormones" that are produced consciously or unconsciously as soon as a person sets a goal. The concrete goal sets people in motion and motivates them to act. The ability to remain capable of action even in uncertain and crisis-ridden moments - in moments of dizziness - depends on the individual's strengths. The individual must remain cognitively fit and present even in highly emotional or demanding circumstances. Only then can an individual who has been thrown off balance remain able to think and capable of acting. One can train one's motivation ability by regularly setting oneself new tasks and challenges and successfully mastering them. In this way, we break out of our "neuronal crib" (Jens Corsson), in which our "operating system" usually finds itself. The brain is reluctant to confront unknown situations and tries to avoid them. We live according to habits that make us mentally and physically sluggish. Unfamiliar tasks put us at risk, and coping with them makes us learn. However, there must be moments of regeneration and assurance in addition to demanding new tasks. An essential part of learning from a situation is reflecting on it and integrating it into one's own life.

In this respect, dizziness has a positive connotation for me, if it creates confusion in me and raises questions as to whether the project, the idea will work. So, there is a heightened awareness, which may cause me to focus more on my project and the quality of the outcome improves as a result.

The dizziness and the unknown only enhance the learning process if the individual is willing and able to change and does not shy away from new tasks for fear of failure. Even if challenging, these new tasks must nevertheless appear manageable.

In a group, everyone is subject to group dynamic processes and everyone identifies differently in the respective social structure and behaves differently accordingly.

From an evolutionary point of view, humans are social beings who feel more secure in a social group and seem to cope with tasks more comfortably. In addition, it is often easier for individuals to motivate themselves within a group because three major motivational systems are addressed: Achievement, social connection and power.

A group faces the challenge of formulating collective goals that are strong enough for individual goals to take a back seat. Instead, a common goal direction must be negotiated, which, in Zeyringer's experience, should be formulated in an open manner rather than fixed in writing. This "fragmentary approach" and the accompanying acceptance that not everything can and needs to be controlled often proves more fruitful in his work as a motivational trainer.

In groups, work gets done on a "constructive we-feeling" and a common goal. It takes trust in the group's ability to make decisions and in its own dynamics to orient itself even in unpredictable situations and does not fall apart. Nevertheless, collectives, in particular, need a leader who takes on problems and makes "objectives, proposals and decisions for the group". If the objectives are clear and are followed by the group members, hierarchies in the group will also be accepted.

What can I do individually and what can we do as a team to get out of a crisis?

Thus, the individual personality structure of each member also plays a role in groups, as "it is always individuals who provide the momentum for movement". In groups, it is true that collective resilience is characterised by the fact that one's own emotionality can be controlled – especially in crises. On the personality level, this means that it is important to trust one's individual strengths and to know one's abilities and possibilities in order to be able to make a constructive contribution to achieving the goal. "What brings us forward?" and "How do we achieve our goal in the process?" are the crucial questions here. In crisis situations, it is advantageous if the relationship work, i.e. the connections between the individual people in the group, has already been done before the challenge occurs. However, a crisis makes it possible for the group to assess the leader's ability based on empirical values and vice versa. Thus, it helps the group with the grounding basis of mutual trust.

This is the summary of an interview conducted by Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond with Jörg Zeyringer ( on 11 November 2020. The transcript of the conversation in German is available via the pdf.