Motivation: the source of strength for action


Happiness is not to always do what you want, but to want always what you do (Leo Tolstoy).

Motivation (motivatio) – a system of incentives that motivate a person to perform the actions. Is a dynamic process of physiological nature that are controlled by the psyche of the individual, manifested in emotional and behavioral levels. For the first time the concept of «motivation» was used in the work of A. Schopenhauer.

The concept of motivation

Despite the fact that studying motivation is one of the most pressing issues of the research of psychologists, sociologists, educators, to date, not established a single definition of this phenomenon. There are many contradictory hypotheses that attempt on a scientific basis to explain the phenomenon of motivation to answer the questions:

  • why and why the person acts;
  • for the satisfaction of some needs of the targeted activity of the person;
  • why and how a person chooses a certain strategy of action.
  • what results an individual expects to receive, their subjective importance to the person;
  • why some persons, who have a stronger motivation in comparison with other, fails to succeed in those areas, which are endowed with the same abilities and have the same opportunities fail.

One group of psychologists advocated the theory of the dominant role intrinsic motivation – an innate, acquired mechanisms governing human behavior. Other scientists believe that the leading cause of motivation there are significant external factors influencing the personality of the environment. The third group focused on the study of the basic motives and the attempts of their systematization into congenital and acquired factors. The fourth area of research is the study of the essence of motivation as the main reasons for defining the behavioral reactions of the person to achieve specific goals or as a source of energy for activities managed by other factors, such as habit.

Most scientists the concept of motivation determines how a system based on the unity of the internal factors and external incentives that determine human behavior:

  • vector direction;
  • discipline, commitment, consistency, discipline actions;
  • activity and persistence;
  • the stability of the selected objectives.

Need, motive, goal

The term motive is one of the key concepts of psychology that is understood by scientists in different ways within different theories. Motive (moveo) – conditional perfect subject, not necessarily of a material nature, towards which is oriented the work of the individual. The motive is perceived by the individual as a unique, specific experiences that can be described as a positive feeling of anticipation of achievement of the subject requirements, or negative emotions that have arisen against the background of dissatisfaction or partial satisfaction of the existing in this situation. For allocation and awareness of a specific motive a person needs to conduct purposeful work.

The most simple definition of motive presented by A. N. Leontiev and S. L. Rubinstein’s theory of activity. At the conclusion of leading scientists: a motive is mentally defined, «objectified» the need of the subject. The motive essentially is a great phenomenon from the concepts of need and purpose. Need is an unconscious human desire to get rid of the existing discomfort (to read about human needs). Goal – the desired result of a conscious purposeful actions (to read about the dedication). For example: hunger is a natural need, the desire to eat is a motive, and a tasty schnitzel.

Types of motivation

In modern psychology use different methods of classification of motivation.

Extensivly and intrinsivnykh

Extensiona motivation (external) – a group of motives, due to the influence of external factors on the object: the circumstances, conditions, incentives not related to the content of specific activities.

Intrinsivnykh motivation (internal) has internal causes that are associated with the attitudes of the individual: needs, desires, aspirations, desires, interests, attitudes. When intrinsic motivation a person acts and behaves «voluntarily», not guided by external circumstances.

The subject of discussion about whether this division of motivations consecrated in the work of X. Hekhauzen, although from the point of view of modern psychology, such debates are groundless and futile. Man, being an active member of the society,may not be fully independent from the influence of the surrounding society to make his own decisions and actions.

Positive and negative

Distinguish between positive and negative motivation. The first type is based on the incentives and expectations are positive, the second negative. Examples of positive motivation are design: «if I perform some action, you get some kind of reward», «if I don’t do these steps, I will reward». Examples of negative motivation may be the approval of; «if I do this, I will not be punished», «if I do not act thus, do not punish». In other words, the main difference: expectations positive reinforcement in the first case, negative in the second.

Stable and unstable

The basis for sustainable motivation – the needs of the individual, to meet which the individual performs a deliberate action, without the need for additional reinforcements. For example: to satisfy hunger, warm up after hypothermia. Unsustainable motivation the person needs ongoing support, incentives from the outside. Example: to reset preventing weight, to quit Smoking.

Psychologists also distinguish the two subspecies of the stable and unstable motivation, conventionally referred to as «from carrot to stick», the differences between them illustrates an example: you want to lose weight and achieve attractive shapes.

Additional classification

There is a division of motivation into subtypes: individual, group, cognitive.

Individual motivation brings together the needs, incentives and goals, aimed at ensuring the functioning of the human body and maintain homeostasis. Examples are: hunger, thirst, the desire to avoid pain, to ensure the temperature optimum.

To the phenomena of group motivation include: concern for parents about children, the choice of the activities to obtain the recognition of society, maintaining the state of the device.

Examples of cognitive motivation are: research activities, the child will get the knowledge through the game process.

Motivation: the driving force of human behavior

pushes man

Psychologists, sociologists and philosophers for centuries attempts were made to the definition and classification of motives – stimuli, potentiating certain activities of the individual. Scientists distinguish the following types of motivation.

Motive 1. Affirmation

Affirmation is a human need to be recognized and appreciated by society. Motivation is based on ambition, self-esteem, pride. Guided by the desire to assert themselves, the individual is trying to prove to society that he is a person. Man seeks to occupy a certain position in society, to obtain social status, to gain respect, recognition and reverence. This view is similar in essence with the motivation of prestige – the desire to achieve and subsequently maintain a formally high status in society. The motive of self-assertion is a significant factor motivating human activities that encourages personal development and intensive work on yourself.

Motive 2. Identification

Identification – the human desire to be like an idol who can act as a real authority figure (e.g. father, teacher, a famous scientist) or fictional character (for example: hero books, films). The motif of identity – a powerful incentive for the development, improvement, applications of strong-willed efforts for the formation of certain character traits. Motivation to be like the idol is often present in juvenile age, under the influence of which the teenager finds high energy potential. The perfect «sample», which would like to identify the young man, gives him a special «borrowed» power, gives inspiration, creates a sense of purpose and responsibility, and develops courage. The presence of motif identification is an important component for the effective socialization of a teenager.

Motive 3. Power

Motivation power – the need of the individual to have a meaningful impact on other people. At certain points in the development of both the individual and society as a whole, the motive is one of the important driving factors of human activities. The desire to play the leading role in the team, the desire to occupy leadership positions motivates a person to consistent action. For the implementation of the requirements to lead and manage people establish and to regulate their sphere of activity a person is willing to exert enormous willpower and overcome significant obstacles. Motivation power occupies an important position in the hierarchy of incentives activities.The desire to dominate society is a great phenomenon from the motive of self-assertion. With this motivation a person acts for the sake of obtaining influence over others, and not for the purpose of obtaining evidence of self-worth.

Motive 4. Procedural-substantive

Procedural-substantive motivation compels a person to action not due to the influence of external stimuli, and due to the personal interest of the individual in the content of the activity. Is the internal motivation has a strong effect on the activity of the individual. The essence of the phenomenon: people interested in experiencing and engaging in the process, he likes to be physically active, to use intellectual abilities. For example, a girl dancing as she loves the process itself: the manifestation of their creative potential, physical abilities, and intellectual capacity. She just loves the process of dance, not external motivations, such as: waiting popularity, achieve material prosperity.

Motive 5. Self-development

The motivation of self-development based on the human desire to develop the natural abilities,improving upon existing positive qualities. According to prominent psychologist Abraham Maslow, the motivation that impels a person to exert maximum effort for the full development and realization of abilities, guided by the need to feel competence in a particular area. Self-development gives people a sense of self-worth requires self-exposure – the opportunity to be themselves and requires the courage of «being».

The motivation of self-development requires courage, bravery, and determination to overcome the fear of risk paratechnology in the past conditional stability, to abandon a comfortable rest. It is human nature to hold on and to extol past achievements and the worship of personal history are major obstacles on the path of self-development. This motivation encourages the person to make categorical decisions, making the choice between the desire to move forward and the desire to maintain security. According to Maslow, self-development is possible only in the case when the person steps forward bring more pleasure than commonplace previous achievements. Although the self-development there is often an internal conflict of motives, moving forward does not require violence against them.

The motive 6. Achievements

Achievement motivation involves the desire of a person to achieve the best results in the performed activities, to master the top skills in an attractive area. High efficiency this motivation is based on a conscious choice of the individual heavy tasks, the desire to solve complex problems. This motive is the driving force to achieve success in any area of your life, because winning depends not only on natural talent, developed skills, acquired skills and gained knowledge. The success of any endeavour is based on a high level of achievement motivation, which leads to dedication, persistence, perseverance, firmness of a man to achieve the goal.

The motive 7. Prosocial

Prosocial – public significant motivation based on the existing sense of duty to the human society, of personal responsibility to the social group. If the person is guided by prosocial motivation is the identification of a cell of the society. Under the influence of socially important motives of the person not only identifies himself with a particular group, but also has common interests and goals, takes active part in solving common problems, overcoming challenges.

People, driven by prosocial motivation has a special inner core, it has a certain set of qualities:

  • standard of conduct: responsibility, honesty, steadiness, perseverance, conscientiousness;
  • gay accepted in the group standards;
  • acceptance, recognition and protection of the values of the team;
  • sincere desire to achieve goals, set unit of society.

Motive 8. Affiliation

The motivation of affiliation (joining) based on the desire of the individual to establish new contacts and maintain relationships with important people. The essence of motivation of affiliation: high value of communication as a process, so exciting, that attracts and gives pleasure to the person. Unlike the holding contacts purely for selfish reasons, affiliative motivation – means of satisfaction of spiritual needs, for example: desire of love or sympathy from the other.

The factors that determine the level of motivation

Despite the type of stimulus that drives human activity, his motive, the motivation level is not always the same and constant in man. A lot depends on the type of the activity performed, the context and expectations of the person. For example, in the professional community of psychologists, some experts choose to study the most complex tasks, while others are limited to a «modest» problems in science, planning to achieve in the chosen area of important achievements. Factors determining the level of motivation are the criteria:

  • the importance of the individual perspective of the fact of success;
  • faith and hope on an outstanding achievement;
  • subjective evaluation of human existing probability of good results;
  • subjective understanding of the person of the standards, benchmarks of success.

Ways of motivation

Today successfully apply different methods of motivation, which can be divided into three large groups:

  • Social – motivation;
  • Motivation for learning;
  • Selfmotivation.

Briefly here is a brief characterization of the individual categories.

Motivation of staff

Social motivation – a specially designed integrated system of measures, including moral, professional and material stimulation of activity of the employee. Motivation of staff is aimed at improving worker activity and achieve maximum labor efficiency. The measures used in the motivation of personnel activity, depend on various factors:

  • the stimulation system, which is provided in the enterprise;
  • the control system of the organization in General and HR management in particular;
  • features of institutions: the scope of activities, number of staff, experience and the selected management style of the senior managers.

Ways of motivation of the personnel is divided into subgroups:

  • economic instruments (financial motivation);
  • organizational and administrative measures, based on the power (the need to obey the rules, respect the chain of command, to follow the letter of the law with the possible use of coercion);
  • socio-psychologicalfactors (impact on the consciousness of workers, activating their aesthetic beliefs, religious values, social interests).

Student motivation

Motivation of students is an important element for successful learning. Well-formed motives clearly understood the purpose of the activity provide the educational process the meaning and allow you to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to achieve required results. Arbitrary appearance of motivation to learn, a rare phenomenon in childhood and adolescence. That is why psychologists and educators have developed many techniques to develop motivation that allows you to effectively engage in learning activities. Among the most common methods:

  • create situations, attract attention, motivate students in the subject (interesting experiments, non-standard analogy, instructive examples, unusual facts);
  • emotional experience of the presented material due to its uniqueness and scale;
  • comparative analysis of scientific facts and their interpretation of life;
  • simulation of a scientific dispute, creating a situation of educational debate;
  • a positive assessment of the success through joyful experiences achievements;
  • providing facts novelty items;
  • updating the educational material, it approaches the level of achievement;
  • the use of positive and negative motivation;
  • social motives (the desire to authority, the desire to be a useful member of the group).


Self – motivation individual motivations based on internal beliefs of the individual: desires, aspirations, determination, and sequence, determination and stability. A successful example of self-motivation is when under intensive external disturbances the person continues to act to achieve the goal. There are various ways for self-motivation including:

  • affirmations –a specially chosen positive affirmations that influence the individual on a subconscious level;
  • self – hypnosis is a process that involves the influence of personality on the mental sphere, aimed at the formation of new behaviours;
  • biographies of famous people – an efficient method based on studying the lives of successful individuals;
  • the development of volitional sphere of the activities, «I do not want»;
  • visualization is an effective technique based on imagination, experience results.
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