As we discussed in class, motivation is the hardest factor to gauge, affect, and predict. However, the myth involving Hero and Leander has had a profound motivational affect on many, including Lord Byron. Due to the fact that he was born with a club-foot that got him much ridicule, he made sports and fitness lifelong endeavors in order to overcome his birth defect. The words of the writer and romantic poet have also motivated many to attempt this feat.
In the modern account by Charles Foster, I can see many of the behavioral and motivational factors that we studied come to light. For instance, these three men are an example of McGregor’s Y Theory in that they set a goal on their own, trained in order to be able to achieve their goal, and filled out the necessary paperwork to obtain permission for the task.
McClelland’s Motivational Theory proposes that motivation is linked to three different but intertwined needs: the need for achievement, the need for affiliation, and the need for power. The need that shows up in this account is the need for achievement. Foster’s self-effacing comments like “fat, pale, thirty-something pie-eaters like me” continually show up. This shows that perhaps these men were in a mid-life crisis of sorts and really wanted to do something that would give them a feeling of accomplishment. However, since Charles Foster has been described as an adventurer and a writer and his website boasts pictures from many different travels, one might wonder if this was just an example of one of his hair-brained ideas gone extreme and his dry sense of humor.
The Performance = Motivation + Ability + Environment equation demonstrates how their performance was directly linked to their high level of motivation. Even though the environment of the swim was cold choppy open water instead of the “heated human soup of the public bath” that they had access to and their skill level in swimming was less than desirable, their...