'This is the mark of perfection of character, to spend each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, laziness or any pretending' - MARCUS AURELIUS
Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviours. It is what causes you to act, whether it is getting a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge. Motivation involves the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that activate behaviour.
Motivation is the desire to act in service of a goal. It's the crucial element in setting and attaining one's objectives—and research shows that people can influence their own levels of motivation and self-control.
Motivation can have many sources, and often people have multiple motives for engaging in any one behaviour. Motivation might be extrinsic, whereby a person is inspired by outside forces—other people or events that transpire. Motivation can also be intrinsic, whereby the inspiration comes from within a person—the desire to improve at a certain activity. Intrinsic motivation tends to push people more forcefully, and the accomplishments are more fulfilling.
One framework used for understanding motivation is the hierarchy of needs proposed by American psychologist Abraham Maslow in 1943. According to Maslow, humans are inherently motivated to better themselves and move toward expressing their full potential—self- actualisation—by progressively encountering and satisfying several levels of need from the most fundamental, such as for food and safety, to higher-order needs for love, belonging, and self-esteem.
Motivation is an internal process. Whether we define it as a drive or a need, motivation is a condition inside us that desires a change, either in the self or the environment. When we tap into this well of energy, motivation endows the person with the drive and direction needed to engage with the environment in an adaptive, open-ended, and problem-solving sort of way (Reeve, 2018).
The essence of motivation is energised and persistent goal-directed behaviour. When we are motivated, we move and take action.
To be motivated means to be moved into action. We are induced into action or thought by either the push of a motive or the pull of an incentive or goal toward some end-state. Here a motive is understood as an internal disposition that pushes an individual toward a desired end-state where the motive is satisfied, and a goal is defined as the cognitive representation of the desired outcome that an individual attempts to achieve.
Motivation is influenced by the satisfaction of needs that are either necessary for sustaining life or essential for wellbeing and growth. Physiological needs for food, water, and sex serve the organism to maintain life and also provide satisfaction from doing so.
Psychological needs for autonomy, mastery, and belonging direct our behaviour in much the same way. As do the needs for achievement, power, closure, meaning, and self-esteem. Some of these needs will become motives as will all the intrinsic activities we engage in.
Our environment and social context will play a significant role in terms of extrinsic motivation. We will also be motivated by goals, values, and desires to experience specific emotions associated with certain end-states (Reeve, 2018).