Motivation is an internal process. It is a need, desire or drive within us that leads to a state of mind that desires change.
When we are motivated, our entire being is involved as an integrated whole; socially, emotionally, cognitively and biologically – all of which influence our behavior and engage us to take action.
Motivation identifies with a specific why behind someone’s thoughts and actions, which is typically explained by either internal or external rewards or incentives.
Motivation is one of the driving forces behind human behavior. It fuels competition and sparks social connection. Its absence can lead to mental illnesses such as depression. Motivation encompasses the desire to continue striving toward meaning, purpose, and a life worth living.
There are two types of motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.
When we are motivated by an inner drive that is not reliant upon any outside pressure like a deadline or a reward, then we are intrinsically motivated. Our drive comes purely from within. Intrinsic motivation is strongly associated with identity; we are motivated to do something because it brings us joy or it is something we want to do, irrespective of outside influences.
When we need a reason to do our work outside of our own enjoyment of the work itself, we are considered to be extrinsically motivated. Extrinsic motivation has three main elements to it; expectancy, instrumentality and valence. Expectancy means the motivator believes that greater effort will lead to a better performance, instrumentality runs on the belief of appreciation and reward for our efforts, and valence is a desire for a promised reward.
While extrinsic motivation can help someone stay motivated for a short period of time, it is not a long-lasting form of motivation and has the high likelihood of having the adverse effect on us; when our expectations are not met, or our efforts exceed our rewards, we become demotivated and it becomes more difficult for us to find motivation in the future. Intrinsic motivation is the most powerful form of motivation because it is uniquely tied to our own existence and identity.
The easiest access to intrinsic motivation is through higher consciousness, in which we tap into the most fundamental nature of our existence. When we attune to the true nature of our existence – the essence of our very being – we are provided with an unlimited reservoir of motivation.