Through extensive research in the domains of psychology, education, neuroscience, business and athletics, UCF College of Education and Human Performance’s Associate Professor of Educational Psychology, Bobby Hoffman, has determined which motivational elements affect learning and performance.

In his book Hoffman uses the engaging technique of describing the triumphs and setbacks of several well-known personalities he interviewed to serve as examples of motivated behavior.

He set out on a quest after his students in the Applied Learning & Instruction program at UCF complained about being required to read journal articles that were difficult to understand and didn’t have much applied use or value. They desired a textbook for their Motivation class, a book that didn’t really exist.

Based upon student encouragement, Hoffman decided to write the 426-page book “Motivation for Learning and Performance,” which discusses the 50 key motivation principles for learning and performance designed with two primary goals in mind; promoting self-awareness of one’s motives and outlining strategies to mediate motivational challenges.

Hoffman wanted to find a way to engage readers as a means to simplify the understanding of motivational science, but he also sought to make the book different and more interesting than a typical textbook. Instead of creating fictional case studies, he identified real-life personalities from sports, business, entertainment, music, and politics to serve as examples of motivated behavior. The book features his interviews with former investment adviser and criminally-convicted financier Bernie Madoff, Emmy-nominated “Curb Your Enthusiasm” actress Cheryl Hines, former NFL superstar Nick Lowery, professional poker expert Alec Torelli, and former Olympic athlete Amanda Boxtel, who lost her mobility during a skiing accident and as a result became the world’s first recipient of a robotic system that allows disabled people to walk unassisted.

While writing the book he found three factors that distinguished motivated behavior in his notable subjects from those less motivated: accountability, control and the expectation that life is full of obstacles.

“The individuals I interviewed took complete responsibility of their lives,” Hoffman explained. “When you have an internal locus of control, meaning you believe you are accountable for orchestrating your life, then you feel that you can control your destiny. When you make a mistake, you must give yourself the opportunity to improve, and learn from that mistake.”

He also found through his research that having a bad day wasn’t part of each successful person’s M.O., as universally the motivational leaders in the book expected to and did fail at one point or another. Plus, they all strived to excel and achieve personal and professional growth, while indicating spirituality, even though it wasn’t always directly expressed.

For more information about Hoffman and his book, visit