Is motivation important in everyday life?
Of course motivation is important, and in almost every aspect of human behavior too. Why? Without it, we’d do nothing; not work, have no hobbies, and no meeting up with family or friends.
Do you wish you were more motivated sometimes? I think we all do. There are times like weekends when you just want to chill out in your pj’s, and that’s okay. But on other days, we need the motivation to go to the gym, walk the dogs or go to work.
In my previous post Is self-confidence important, the words motivation and action were mentioned briefly. We found out that if there’s no action, there’s no motivation. We also learned that action comes before, and motivation comes after, and with that, comes more motivation. In this post we’ll explore why it’s important.
So what is it?
“Motivation is the process that guides, initiates, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors.
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.
It involves the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that activate behavior.”Very Well Mind
Why it’s important
Motivation is a starting point for all our choices such as partners, careers, or hobbies. It’s the reason for people’s actions, desires and needs, it makes people ready to act. It’s the force that pushes us on to develop, to change, improve and to achieve.
Psychology Today said “Motivation is literally the desire to do things. It’s the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining goals.”
In school or uni, if we’re motivated we learn better and remember more of what we learned. At work, we’re more likely to complete tasks on time, and in the gym, we’re more able to push ourselves that little bit further.
You can read about the 9 or 11 types of motivation, but broadly speaking, there are two main types:
- is engaging in an activity for its own sake. You enjoy the activity because it’s fun or challenging, not because you’ll get a reward or avoid punishment.
- where people are generally motivated by a desire to satisfy human needs and comes from within. It’s driven by a personal interest or enjoyment in the task itself, be that at work, in college or in sport. For example, you love tennis and you want to get better at it. You don’t want to compete in the next Olympics, you just want to play, and be better. You’d also love to wipe that smile of your big-headed pal’s face.
- might come from a person’s own self-confidence and discipline, a desire to please their boss or do well for their company or the desire to achieve certain professional or personal goals.
- results in growth, i.e. growth due to challenges you’ve overcome or are experiencing. This might come after a divorce or separation and mental or physical illness.
- is clearly visible in young infants, that consistently try to grasp, throw, bite, squash or shout at new objects they encounter. Even if less important as they grow, human adults are still often intrinsically motivated while they play crosswords, make paintings, do gardening or just read novels or watch movies, according to Ryan and Deci (2000)
Yet, to get a clearer picture of intrinsic motivation, one needs to understand that it has been defined by contrast to:
- refers to behavior that is driven by external rewards such as praise, money, fame, or grades. This type of motivation arises from outside the individual.
- can be driven by psychological or tangible rewards. The psychological rewards like praise, positive feelings or lack of criticism can sometimes come from within. However, they’re a type of motivating reward that is external to the actual process of participating in the event. The tangible rewards like new toys, a bonus at work or extra pocket money are simply always external.
- refers to doing something not because you enjoy it, but because you want to earn a reward or avoid punishment.
- where you don’t want to do something, but you must do it, i.e. take various medications each day. It feels more out of necessity rather than an activity that will bring you enjoyment or fulfilment.
Do you look forward to your daily workout because you have a bet with your best friend about who can lose the most weight? Then you’re extrinsically motivated — in this situation, at least. We’re never just intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. We can be either or, in different situations.
So now we know that motivation is important, what it is, and the two main types. In my next post we’ll explore little or no motivation, and what to do about it. In the meantime:
Over to you
While I felt motivated to complete this topic in one post, I honestly don’t have the energy. When researching this article, I saw several google suggestions as to How to motivate yourself when you’re tired, fatigued or just plain exhausted! I haven’t read these Bullsh*t claims yet but once I do, I’ll let you have my opinion. I might just have to eat my words 😉 As always, I’m happy to read any comments, receive constructive criticism and answer any questions.