What is Motivation?

Exactly what is motivation? The dictionary describes motivation as factors that stimulate desire, energy, and movement, but still... You could say that motivation is the driving force behind everything you do. All in all, it is very difficult to define motivation.

Motivation can be internal or external.  It can be as simple as the need for food driving you to cook dinner or as complex as the desire to be a successful athlete motivating you to practice every single day. 

Motivation can even be the desire to avoid punishment at work.  This desire may push you to actually go beyond what you were doing before, or it may make no difference in your level of motivation to get things done.

Not everyone has the same desires, which is why the same form of motivation does not work for everyone.  In order to figure out what type of motivation works best for you, spend some time thinking about what makes you tick. 

Why do you do the things that you do?  Often the why will give you a very ample description of the type of motivation you need and a very personal answer to the question, “What is motivation?” 

Let’s look more closely at some specific forms of motivation.  We’ve already said that motivation can be internal or external, and the external form is probably the easiest to understand.  Money is obviously a major motivator for some people, while others thrive on competition and the promise of rewards if they win. 

Internal motivation, on the other hand, comes from within.  Some experts hold that this form of motivation is based on a need hierarchy.  For example, the need for food is an established internal form of motivation to get you to make dinner.  

Everyone should have their own personal definition of motivation in order to understand exactly what it means.  The answer to the question is very different for everyone because motivation is like a ghost, appearing easily to some people and fading away quickly for others. 

Motivation simply does not mean the same thing to everyone, so you’ve got to define it for yourself in order to determine what will work for you.

As soon as you figure out what sorts of things motivate you or move you into action, then you can begin looking for ways to motivate yourself.  After all, the same sources of motivation will not always be available.  Sometimes you will have to motivate yourself, and successful people always find ways to do this. 

Self-motivation is a form of internal motivation, and trying to figure out how to motivate yourself is probably the reason you’re on this quest to discover exactly what is motivation. 

The bottom line is that no one can tell you what will motivate you except for yourself. 

Think about your past experiences and the things that pushed you into action.  Then spend some time taking those experiences apart to figure out exactly why they pushed you into action.  There you’ll find the source of your motivation in that moment, and you cause use it to find your source of motivation for the future.

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