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The articles linked to this assignment discuss three important aspects of human psychology: Morality, values, and motivation. The first of the three addresses Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development (UCF, 2015), which helps to section off our chronological development of morality into certain stages. These stages, in brief summation, include pre-moral (the obsession with forcing your will onto others and fearing punishment), conventional morality (which focuses on appearing socially acceptable and how we judge the actions of others directly), and finally postconventional (the third, ultimate stage wherein which we put aside our needs in order to determine what is just or necessary to help everyone).
The second article (WSU, 2015) covers our values, or more simply: how we determine what actions to take, and how those actions shape who we are. It explains that we discover these values of ours by determining which ones (when fulfilled) make us happy, or at peace. These values are broken into two categories: Instrumental, meaning character traits, and terminal, meaning things we can work towards as goals.
In the third and final article (Stuart-Kotze, 2015), motivation theory is addressed. It covers four theories in particular, which I will once again briefly summarize. First, there’s the Hierarchy of Needs, by Abraham Maslow. This classification of needs is set up commonly as a pyramid, which works from the base to the top one step at a time– if one step is lost, you must re-establish that step and work your way back up from there once again. These steps, from bottom to top, are physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, and finally self-actualization: the stage where you reach your maximum potential as a person and achieve your best thing. Next, we have the dual factor theory, by Fred Herzberg. This one basically separates our motivation into two goals: to achieve satisfaction through work, and to avoid dissatisfaction. The elements we incorporate into satisfying ourselves are called motivators, and the elements we use to avoid dissatisfaction are called hygienes. Next, there is the Need for Achievement, by David McClelland. McClelland’s theory revolves around the way people distribute their need for power, and their need for affiliation. The theory also touches on how high our desire is to achieve, and how that can affect our motivation to perform certain tasks, like in the ring-toss example the article used. Finally, there is theory of Expectancy, by Victor Vroom. Vroom’s theory challenges the idea of immediate satisfaction from completing work. He revises the concept of goals and satisfaction to propose that workers are motivated to accomplish a task in order to satisfy another external goal. The goal is not the task; rather, the task is a potential means of satisfying one’s true goal. They see their behavior as influencing secondary goals, and approach their productivity with that voluntary productivity level in mind.
So, what exactly does this mean to a college sophomore? More than it is given credit for, definitely. Though many may not give consideration to this when starting their college career, motivation is something that must first be established by understanding what you want. Many approach the institution with a burning question of “how do I get motivated”, often without asking what it is they want to do when they are done with school. In order to determine what it is they want, the must first look at their values, and how they put them into practice. The level of realism and challenge of the value then determines the immediacy and strength of the motivation. Then, by understanding their values and using that knowledge to pursue a career that best fits their passions and achievement needs, a college graduate can use their education to find a career that puts their values into practice.
When determining what should motivate me, I look at my own values. After staring long and hard at my past attitudes and behaviors, I find that my two most dominant values are love and happiness. If I were to think to myself what a perfect world would look like, my application of these values usually comes out rather contradictory and antagonistic of itself– so I ascribe these values to be very personal in nature. I believe that one should do what makes them happy, so long as that happiness does not do harm to those around them. It becomes sort of a “you do you” type of world, but with the stipulation that you cannot ruin other people’s lives in doing so. For me, I use this value to justify my choice of career: I am currently going for a broad, easily hire-able bachelor’s degree for an open ended field so I can make enough money to support my future family and experiment with my other hobbies affordably (a terminal goal, pleasure). In other words, I am not becoming a doctor because in the end, that is more work than it would take to make me happy. I may not be directly happy with a profitable career selling cell phones, but it would take less time to acquire, I would spend less money getting there, and in the end I would be happy sooner because I would just be comfortably living with my wife. If I chose to follow a career I truly loved, I would end up dirt poor and miserable because there is sadly no such thing as a wealthy or accomplished bachelor of psychology. In the end, I care more about what I think of myself than what others may think about my career choice– to an extent, anyway. I suppose I simply want to appear as happy as I feel, if the world must have a perspective on my values.
The next best thing I could think of adding to my values would be to stand up for both myself and the people I care about when they are wronged. Far too often I would rather just sit back and quietly take an offensive remark or ungrateful disservice because it’s easier to forget than to suffer the fear and pain of confrontation. Recently, though, I have noticed that this fear of confrontation does not always make me or anyone else happy. It usually just encourages this kind of treatment and leaves people close to me wondering if I really care about them. If I stood up for myself and others, and made honest attempts to demand justice on their behalf, I believe would find myself happier in the long-run. This value would fall into the chart’s idea of social recognition. I hesitate to call this a desire for world peace, as I think that is legitimately an unrealistic value and I would find myself in a constant state of depression.
These values took time to accrue, in my case, and this is typically how human development occurs. As we mature physically, many of us mature mentally in the same fashion (though there are some who may remain in their first stage of moral development, like prisoners). As mental maturity progresses, we begin to ascend through the three stages of Kohlberg’s theory of moral development (UCF, 2015), and with each stage comes the likely revision or reassessment of our key values. It is somewhat unrealistic to expect a child within the premoral stage to have the same understanding of what they really, really want out of life as they will when they reach the conventional, or even post-conventional stage. Take me, for example: While I would like to think I’m more mature than people my age, I firmly believe I am still within the second stage of moral development. I would say that I hit this stage early, and have been coasting within it for a long time (long for my life, anyway). Now, with this level of morality in mind, how have my values changed or shifted in priority? The answer is rather upsetting, if I am being completely honest. From an introspective approach, I find many discrepancies and inconsistencies between how often I refer to these values and how often I actually put them into action. If I were trying to make the world a better place, or to logically provide for my family many years down the road, I would be pursuing a degree in a field I am qualified for and guaranteed great success in– but I have not done that. I am actively denying that sound and secure future for myself, simply because it wouldn’t make me as happy as I imagine other careers would. If I were to end up in a career that had a real and commendable impact on my community, that would probably be a product of coincidence, or convenience. Again, I talk a lot about wanting to make this world a better place, but as I mature I find that I place more importance on making myself a better person, and satisfying my values for happiness and love. I suppose I have placed more focus on achieving my values as I grew, but it would seem my values have unconsciously shifted in the process.
My name is [name omitted], and I am a college sophomore at Saint Charles Community College. That is what I tell people when they ask who I am, and in the most basic sense I guess that is who I am. Beneath that, though, there is more. Beneath that, I am someone who loves to create, and to entertain. I write stories to engage people’s imagination, I tell jokes to make people laugh, and I make people happy because it makes me feel a little better about myself. I have such a will to create, to inspire, to change– but when you ask me what I am studying at this college, you would never see that side of me in my answer. I could tell you one of a dozen summaries I have prepared, that I am just another aspiring business major, or how I plan to scurry off to a university up-state to finish my four year degree in “who cares what”, all so I can comfortably work in the next stage of a booming business and shuffle off into retirement when my time there is up. From that, though, you would have no idea what I really love to do. And I think that is perfectly fine, because if all I am is my major and a face, then those people are missing out on what makes me who I am. With that typical job and this cookie-cutter degree, I will make enough money to feed the vicious cycle that is my student debt. I will make enough money to pay my bills and meet the needs of a comfortable life. I will help provide for a home with the woman I plan to marry, and when the workweek starts again, I will feel satisfied. Even if my job doesn’t keep me on the edge of my seat every day, I will be happy and I will love the people I surround myself with and the stories I create for myself. I am studying a blank space on a bachelor’s degree because I know there is more to life than the job that keeps my house warm in the winter. I am motivated, and I am fulfilling my values, but my major will simply be a means to an end.
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