No one single definition of motivation exists, so when you’re doing your research, you’ll need to take the bits that most fit your needs. Motivation is such an incredibly important part of your journey towards self actualization as it will be the power that helps you to achieve your goals.
Knowing about different definitions will help you identify your motivators as well as giving you ideas about how to use motivation to reach your goals.
Every definition of motivation is underpinned by a set of basic assumptions about life. If you fulfill these assumptions, as nearly all people do, then you be able to find a definition of motivation that fits your needs. These basic assumptions of the best motivation theories include:
These assumptions underpin most theories of motivation because they lay the groundwork for our most basic goals as well as identifying why we are motivated to make changes in our lives.
In nearly every definition of motivation, there will be mention of the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. To paraphrase Abraham Maslow, the father of the self actualization movement, motivation should be something that we do ourselves, rather than having someone do it for us. This basic concept has been expanded into the ideas of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Extrinsic motivation is where everyone starts as children. It simply refers to things that other people offer us to help motivate us. This may be a sticker chart at school, money for doing chores around the house or the reward of a trip somewhere on the condition of good behaviour. By the time they reach high school, most people move beyond this need to be motivated by others, but you’ll still set it in place in bonus salary schemes, supermarket reward schemes and holiday giveaways.
Intrinsic motivation is much more complex and much harder to achieve than extrinsic motivation. You are intrinsically motivated if you do things because they make you feel good, make someone else feel good or because it’s the right thing to do. Think of it as having a set of inner needs that you meet through your actions. Having intrinsic motivation is a key characteristic of self actualization as you are entirely self-sufficient in setting and achieving your own goals.
Using intrinsic motivation as the cornerstone of your own personal definition of motivation will help you immensely. It takes a lot of self discipline to motivate yourself and you’ll need plenty of motivation tips to help get you started. The easiest of these is to have some self motivation quotes scattered around your home, as well as a daily motivation target for a certain area of your life.