“What is Motivation?”
Simply put motivation is the motive – or the reason that a person chooses to act in a particular manner (or to simply do nothing.) A motive is based on our emotions and beliefs.
“Motive is the word originally used in speaking of that which determines the choice” according to the Online Etymology dictionary.
Motivation is the strong emotions we feel – such as a burning desire to have or to do something. It’s these strong emotions that keep us going until we achieve the desired result.
Often times people think that to be motivated there needs to be a prize or a reward to be received once the action is completed. This isn’t necessarily true…
There are two types of motivation:
The motivation comes from deep within your soul. It’s something you want to do out of your own free will. It’s that inner drive within you that causes you to get up in the morning, to learn a new skill, to plan your dream vacation etc.
Since intrinsic motivation comes from within, you’ll do things just for the sheer joy of it. The only reward you want or expect is the feeling of self-accomplishment. This is what motivates you to keep on going after you fail. In matter of fact, you don’t see a failing as being a failure; you see it as an opportunity for growth. You are able to learn from it and develop a new strategy to achieve your goals.
The motivation comes from an outside source or person. The only reason you’re doing something is to receive a reward.
Since extrinsic motivation comes from an outside source you’re not acting in your own free will. Basically your behavior is being manipulated by the incentive of a reward or the fear of punishment.
People who are led by extrinsic motivation see a setback or failure as a negative reflection on themselves. They don’t believe they have any control of their life and constantly look to the outside for rewards and motivation.
Please note that I’m not saying you shouldn’t reward yourself for a job well done. Rewarding yourself can be a motivator – as long as your motivation comes from within and you are creating your own rewards.
According to brain researchers we are born with a tendency towards intrinsic motivation. That’s why a toddler shows no fear when he is exploring every new thing that he sees. He is motivated by exploring the wonders of his world.
However adults begin teaching extrinsic motivation to children at a very young age.
“If you’re good you can have a piece of candy.”
“Clean your room and then you can go outside and play.”
“Be quiet or you will get a whipping.”
You can see from these statements that a child quickly learns that his behavior has rewards and/or punishments. It is true that a child needs to learn his behavior has consequences, but they also need to learn that they can do or achieve anything they desire.
The problem is many people in todays society have been raised by caregivers who believed they had no control over their lives. Therefore the only way they knew how to motivate (or control) is through the use of extrinsic motivation.
Sadly, overtime intrinsic motivation is squashed in the person that grew up with the constant use of extrinsic motivators. If this describes you, don’t lose hope. With time and practice, you can rediscover your intrinsic motivators and take control of your life.
It’s interesting to note that some studies suggest that if you have both an intrinsic and extrinsic motive for a certain behavior, that people discount the intrinsic reason. If the extrinsic motive is removed, people will lose motivation to continue the behavior.
For success you need to begin looking for your own intrinsic motivators. This is why successful people from all walks of life are more confident and self-assured. Their motivation comes from within. They don’t have to look to the outside to be rewarded for a job well done.