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Pride makes us feel good – shame makes us feel bad.

New research from the Marshall School of Business shows that when it comes to motivation we’ll do more out of pride than we will out of shame.

Three separate groups of volunteers were put into in a room with a large slab of chocolate cake and told they could eat as much as they want.

One group was asked to focus on the pride they’d feel if they resisted the cake. The  second group was asked to imagine the shame they’d feel if they ate it. The third group wasn’t given any special instructions.

It turns out that the group that focused on the pride of resisting the cake ate much less than those who focused on the shame of giving in. They also ate less than the group who were just let loose.

Pride focuses on the person and success. Shame focuses on the cake and failure. This doesn’t just apply to chocolate cake. It’s the same whether you are escaping from bad habits, improving your health or building confidence.