Define motivation?
How about, if you're alive, you're motivated?

How to define motivation: this page gives a definition of motivation and knowledge of what is motivation. In addition, it describes intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and the relationship between emotion and motivation.

What is motivation?:

A dictionary definition of motivation includes:

* causing motion
* an incitement of the will
* an emotion that excites to action
* concerned with the initiation of action
* moving

Another way to define motivation is:

* motivation means - the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way; the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

These definitions, and motivational psychology, carry three crucial messages that apply to self motivation and to motivation in the workplace:

1. if you are alive, you ARE motivated:

That is, motivation is not an option, it comes with the territory (of being a human being).

So, when someone asks, "how do you motivate a person?", the answer is, technically, YOU don't, THEY do, because they are already motivated.

Click here for some inspiring leadership quotes.

In terms of what is motivation (i.e. define motivation) it's the "wrong" question, because it's too simplistic and based on the false assumption that your motivation is something I can do to you.

The question really needs to be, "how do I find out what this person's needs are, and then connect with them, so that it makes sense for them to choose to take the action I want them to?".

In practice, this definition of motivation requires you to use your power and persuasion skills to align the person's motivation and the situation.

2. motivation is about ACTION:

The words used may indicate an intention but it is only when the action begins that you know the person concerned is motivated.

For example, "I'll start that tomorrow" or "I really want to do that someday" or.........(fill in your own versions), may be meant when they are said but the define motivation statements above go beyond intention.

A subtle variation here has to do with two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is about those intangible feelings that are "inside" the person, such as:

* a sense of achievement from doing something
* pride or pleasure from recognition (by self and others) for results or effort
* doing something that is inherently interesting for the person involved at the time
* taking responsibility and making a difference
* learning, self improvement and personal growth.

If someone judges that these intrinsic motivators are present for them in a situation, they are more likely to choose to take action (i.e. to be motivated).

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is about those tangible things that are outside of the person (e.g. with others or in the environment).

For example, money or time or prizes or goods or treats or cars or holidays.

These intrinsic extrinsic motivation factors overlap, of course.

For example, someone may not wish to take action about something (based on their perception of the lack of intrinsic motivators) unless someone else makes them an extrinsic motivator offer they can't refuse (e.g. massive amounts of money), and then they may choose to take action.

Interestingly, though, it was the money that they focused on rather than the original need.

3. motivation is inherently EMOTIONAL:

Let's go back to the what is motivation and define motivation phrases above.

They require someone to want to do something, to care, to be interested and curious, to want to move towards something or away from something, to make an effort, to show determination when needed, to change.

All of these characteristics are emotional in nature and emotion and motivation are inter-dependent.

If someone really doesn't care, is totally without emotion about something (if that is possible?), it is unlikely that they will choose to take action (i.e. be motivated).

On the other hand, we have all heard the stories of the amazing things people will do when they are afraid - fear is a very powerful emotion, of course.

Click here for the Maslow theory of motivation and other motivation theories.

Click here to see some motivational phrases and motivation quotes.

To define motivation involves understanding intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and how emotion and motivation are inter-dependent.
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