Motivation is a process that involves the initiation, guidance and maintenance of behaviors that appear to be goal oriented. Motivation moves both humans and animals to action. When a person moves to get a glass of water, it is the thirst that motivates them to take the action. When a person takes a book to read, it is the desire to gain knowledge that motivates the person to read (Dweck, 2000). For there to be a motivation, there have to be a biological, cognitive, and social forces that activate behavior. Therefore, it is conclusive to say that motivation is a description of why a person acts in a particular way (Wong, 2000). For example, a student that spends a considerable amount of time studying does so because he or she has the motivation to excel in their career.
Components of Motivation
Motivation has three components namely persistence, activation, and intensity. Activation is when a person makes a decision to introduce a behavioral act, such as enrolling in a medical course. Persistence applies when during the medical course, the individual realizes that the course is tough. In order for them to make it through successfully, they must spend more time, resources and energy on the program (Dweck, 2000). Intensity is applicable to the amount of concentration and aggressiveness spent on a project in order to realize the set goals. Intensity varies in individuals. Some students, for example, are successful in their classwork without having to put so much effort. There are others who cannot make it without spending time in the libraries and regular participation in the group discussions.
There are different theories of motivation that psychologists use to explain the motivation concept. The first approach is known as the Instincts Theory (Wong, 2000). Instincts are behavior patterns that are fixed and inborn. The instincts theory suggests that the instincts motivate actions. The second theory, Drives and Needs, suggest that biology motivates various human behaviors such as sleeping, drinking and eating. Since the human body requires food, sleep and water, these biological needs drive us to sleep, drink and eat. The third theory, Arousal Levels, suggests that human beings have optimal levels of arousal. Any actions that an individual undertakes is to maintain their various optimal levels. When a person pursues relaxing activities, it means their optimal level is low. The reverse is also true; those engaged in activities that appear exciting and thrill seeking have high arousal needs (Dweck, 2000).
Types of Motivation
There are two broad categories of motivation; extrinsic and intrinsic. An extrinsic motivation exists from the outside of a person. An example is when an employee works hard to earn the recognition of their manager. On the same note, a marathon runner puts effort in the race so that they can win a trophy or money. Intrinsic motivations exist within an individual. An example is when a student or any other person spends time solving a complex crossword puzzle. The person does so to experience a gratification of solving a problem. There is no reward attached to the successful completion of the activity (Dweck, 2000).
There are three ingredients to motivating oneself namely getting positive, rewarding self and getting peer influence. Sometimes when a person finds themselves in an unpleasant situation, they are impacted negatively and more often than not, will engage in activities that make them forget the situation. However, looking for distractions does not help solve the problem, and if it does, it is for a short period. The best way to give motivation to self is to face the task and keep a track of the improvements recorded. It is satisfying to notice some progress that further makes the person climb the heights of achievement (Wong, 2000).
Secondly, rewarding ourselves is another strategy towards self-motivation. It mostly works best when we give ourselves time limits and declare that we shall deliver a complete task within the time frame. The study of Dweck (2000) suggests that it is more applicable if, for example, we attach the money aspect in the reward system. We could give out some cash to our friends to keep and only return it to us when we complete the tasks within the planned timeframe. If we do not manage to beat the deadline, we lose the cash to our friends. Since we are selfish with our hard-earned money, we shall put effort to see the money is back in our pockets.
Thirdly, getting peer pressure is an excellent way of motivating ourselves. A person who understands what they want out of life will strive through the challenges in their quest to earn it. When we spend time with our role models, we copy them in several ways that could make us become like them (Dweck, 2000).
In conclusion, motivation keeps humans on the moves. Without motivation, people would be dull, and life would lose its meaning. People rise early and prepare for work because of the motivation to earn. Others seek knowledge because they want to better their lives by landing in promising careers. Without motivation, there would be no schools, hospitals, entertainment platforms, life itself.
Wong, R. (2000). Motivation: A biobehavioral approach. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Dweck, C.S. (2000). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.