Motivation can be defined in numerous ways, but there are two basic definitions or descriptions. It can be defined as the main reason or reasons that individuals partake in a certain behavior, specifically human behavior pursuant to the study of psychology or neuropsychology. It can also be defined as the driving force that initiates and drives an individual's behavior. It is the internal energy that propels us to achieve our goals. Typically, it is considered to be a dynamic state of mind not concerned with personality.
There are three aspects of human behavior that motivation is based and founded in:
1. arousal of behavior
2. direction of behavior
3. persistence of behavior
Arousal of behavior relates to a specific thing that activates behavior whereas direction of behavior relates to what is responsible for directing the behavior. Persistence of behavior relates to how the behavior is sustained.
What drives an individual to be successful is referred to as motive. Usually, all motives fall into one of three categories and are considered to be physiological or psychological in nature:
1. homeostatic motives – hunger, respiration, thirst, etc.
2. nonhomeostatic motives – curiosity about the environment, seeking shelter, etc.
3. learned or social motives – achievement, approval, power, social affiliation, etc
In any endeavor that an individual undertakes, motivation (or the lack thereof) is the key element behind the success or failure of the endeavor. It plays a key role in the workplace where the effective performance of an employee is concerned. Management or supervisory personnel have a direct impact and play a significant role in employee motivation in that they employ different motivational techniques to raise productivity levels. It also follows that this has a direct effect on the cooperation levels between the employer and the employee.
Motivation can also be classified as
1. negative or positive
2. obvious or subtle
3. intangible or tangible
Education or learning is also interrelated with motivation and instructors will oftentimes employ motivational techniques to get their students to learn. It can benefit the student by making them more competent as well as encouraging confidence and the ability to solve problems.
Self-motivation has also been classified into two different types:
1. Extrinsic – generated by external factors
2. Intrinsic – generated by internal sensations and is longer-lasting than extrinsic
Self-motivation is considered to be intrinsic in nature, and originates from an individual's internal drives. It is the basis for overcoming obstacles in the path of achieving one's goals. Additionally, certain external factors are responsible for driving a person into undertaking a new project or to move in a positive direction. Characteristically, self-motivation is comprised of three factors:
Since an individual cannot rely on others for motivation, self-motivation has to come from within. It plays a key role wherein the individual gathers the courage and strength to achieve certain goals, and is essential for developing new undertakings or making a positive change in one's lifestyle. Training programs have been proven to be the best way to educate oneself in order to improve motivation and self-motivation.