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What is the motivation?

We explain what is the motivation, the theories that explain it and various examples. In addition, differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

  1. What is the motivation?

Generally, when talking about motivation we mean internal or external forces that act on an individual to shoot, direct or sustain a behavior . In technical terms, many authors define it as “the dynamic root of behavior”, which means that all forms of behavior are born in some kind of motive.

Said in simpler terms, motivation is the psychic energy that pushes us to undertake or sustain an action or a behavior. Its disappearance necessarily leads to the abandonment of what is done. Therefore, it is much more difficult to achieve objectives when motivation is lacking.

The motivation that allows us to create habits, try new things, sustain the effort in some task that we consider rewarding or productive, and is even necessary to meet certain fundamental needs.

On the other hand, you can distinguish between:

  • Positive motivation : Invites action to get a benefit.
  • Negative motivation : Actions are taken to avoid a possible negative consequence.
  1. Theories of motivation

The study of motivation includes different perspectives and approaches, from the different branches and areas of psychological knowledge. In broad strokes, we can identify four different theories around the subject:

  • Theory content . He proposes the understanding of motivation based on his link with human needs, as Maslow understood them in his famous pyramid , in which he represented the hierarchy of human needs. Thus, according to this approach to motivation, behind it there is always some kind of unsatisfied need.
  • Incentive theory . This approach implies motivation as the result of a stimulus or incentive, material or otherwise, that affects behavior in a positive way (inciting action) or negative (inhibiting action). These incentives are called reinforcers, and their effects will be, respectively, positive reinforcements (they offer the possibility of a reward) or negative ones (they offer the possibility of punishment).
  • Theory of the reduction of drives . This theory is based on the consideration that human beings have fundamental basic drives (hunger, thirst, etc.) that, as time goes by, they gain strength and motivation if they are dissatisfied, and in the same way when satisfied they lose strength, that is , reduced.
  • Theory of cognitive dissonance . It is not exactly a theory about motivation, but it can be applied to it. It states that individuals actively try to diminish their sense of subjective disharmony with respect to the world around them, their own desires or feelings, and others. That is, people have a motivational impulse that leads them to take actions to directly or indirectly remedy other ailments and perceptions .
  1. Importance of motivation

The psychology is interested greatly in motivation. On the one hand, it is the source of energy to complete the tasks we have set ourselves. On the other hand, it is a factor that influences other emotional and psychic variables such as stress , self-esteem , concentration, among others.

But in everyday life, the possibility of staying motivated is essential to perform many of the tasks that, in one way or another, involve some kind of effort or postponement of pleasure. It is as simple as that, without motivation, the action becomes difficult, slow or unsustainable over time.

  1. Examples of motivation

Motivation plays an important role in our daily lives. When we set out to embark on a new habit or abandon one that we no longer want, our success or failure will largely depend on how motivated we are.

For example, a person who is willing to quit smoking may do so more or less easily depending on the internal and external motivations they have.

Your motivations can be diverse. For example, you may feel motivated by social pressures. Or because the doctor warned him that he has a disease that the cigarette would aggravate. Another motivation would be that your partner imposed an ultimatum. Depending on the values ​​of the individual , each scenario will be more or less motivating.

  1. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation

Two types of motivation are generally recognized: intrinsic and extrinsic, depending on whether they come from inside or outside the individual, respectively.

  • Intrinsic motivation . It is the motivation that is born within the individual himself, that is, in their own desires for satisfaction of needs, self-realization and / or personal determination, regardless of the validation or external reward that the behavior may entail. It is usually the most valuable and productive type of motivation, since it generates high margins of commitment on the part of the subject.
  • Extrinsic motivation . Unlike the previous one, this motivation has its roots outside the individual, that is, in the expectation of receiving a reward (material or not) that arises as a byproduct of the motivated action or behavior. This type of motivation is weaker than the intrinsic one, since it does not come from the individual’s internal commitment, but from the expectation of a future benefit.
  1. Personal motivation

Personal motivation is the common term we give to the internalized energy available to us to undertake changes and sustain decisions . It is our inner motivation load focused specifically on what we consider our successes or our values.

A person with a lot of personal motivation requires little help to move towards what he wants or to sustain a habit he wants. On the contrary, one with little personal motivation fluctuates in her desire, is inconstant and often needs others to drive her and excite her with what, paradoxically, she wants for herself.

  1. Work motivation

labor motivation productivity
Employee motivation increases their productivity.

Work motivation does not have to do directly with motivation as we have understood it so far. In reality, it refers to the emotional and psychic conditions that a job gives its employees to sustain their productivity and commitment rates high enough over time.

The workers highly motivated perform better and deliver more than the minimum necessary. This is generally due to the fact that they enjoy the necessary conditions to assume the work as something deeper, personal and important, than simply an activity that is carried out to obtain in return an economic remuneration or salary .

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