Enjoyment-Performance Theory is derived from behavioural theory. Essentially it says that we perform better at tasks that we enjoy. And we enjoy tasks we can perform well – that’s why we can perform them well, otherwise we would never have done them enough to become practised at them. And because we enjoy them, and we do them well, we practice more – and become even better at them. And the virtuous circle continues ….
That rather begs the question why we don’t all just stick to what we enjoy. The truth of it is, we generally do start off doing so – that’s why we become good at it. It may not be what makes our heart sing, but on the whole most people start out in life doing things they enjoy, to some extent. For me, that was developing relationships with clients and analysing their needs so I could help them. Of course, it was wrapped up a role called “furniture salesman” in a department store. No-one was going to offer me a job as an ‘analytical relationship-building helper’, so I had to find a position that would benefit from my particular talent.
Then people get ambitious, and get themselves promoted, so they take on other stuff, that maybe they don’t enjoy so much. I know I did; one of the worst years of my working life was the one I spent trying to be the manager of a department store. I learnt loads, mainly about myself, but I absolutely did not enjoy it, and I sure didn’t perform well. But after all, I had to progress, didn’t I? – it’s not all about having fun, you know, it’s serious stuff, this business lark!
Personally, my view is that there’s something far more serious than business … Life! And you’re doing yourself, and those who could benefit from your talents, a great disservice if you’re wasting 40-plus hours a week on something that you’re not enjoying, and therefore not performing to the very best of your abilities. So if you can’t find a way to love what you do, find a way to start doing what you love. Anything else is a complete waste of your brilliance.