Motivation Theories - How Motivation Helps You Achieve Everything That You Desire

There are many motivation theories and it's worth looking at them when you want to make the most out of your life.

Make a clear statement of your motivation; add fuel to your efforts to achieve your goal.

Yes it is known that when you know clearly why you are doing something, it boosts your energy.

Motivation can be intrinsic or extrinsic.

We call intrinsic motivation in the case of an activity for its own sake, which is interesting and satisfying in itself.  attributed to a performer’s internal drive, When a student thrives to pass his exams to boost his self-confidence, we say his motivation is intrinsic.

Extrinsic Motivation applies to cases; I believe you guessed, from factors that are outside the performer.  In the same case we described before, there can be an extrinsic motivation driving the student to pass his exams. 

He can have been promised a reward from his parents or there may be a threat that he is thrown out of his college if he does not.  

Time to discuss a number of motivation theories.

Incentive theory

The incentive theory of motivation is also called the Reward Motivation theory, in which case, a reward (which can be intrinsic or extrinsic) is to be obtained after the execution of a task, an action or a series of actions. 

The case of the student passing his exams to have the reward promised by his parents or to be able to pursue his schooling is a good example of the Incentive Theory.

Drive reduction theory

This motivation theory applies to the fulfillment of basic needs. When you eat, for example, it is for the reducing of the feeling of hunger, which would otherwise increase as time passes. 

This theory is quite debatable though, in the sense that the desire to eat does not necessarily come from a physical need only. It may come from the smell of “tasty” food., for example.

Key experiences and motivation theory

This motivation theory was developed by Professor Gad Yair of The Hebrew University. His approach to motivation follows his longstanding interest in outstanding motivating events- either short term, contextual or long term. 

His concept is that singular, short and intense educational encounters proved to have strong and long lasting effects on adults. 

These encounters are at times associated with a specific person (e.g. a teacher, a parent, a youth leader) who led them, at others with the structure of the episode itself (e.g. progress toward a peak event which is then associated with insight and hindsight. 

Exceptional activities cause prior blinders to be suddenly lifted off, producing clear vision and insight, notably about students’ own selves.

Need theories

Among need theories, you have:

a) Maslow’s need hierarchy theory

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory one of the best-known theories of motivation. His postulates are as follows:

i. Human beings have wants and desires. The unsatisfied needs influence behavior, satisfied needs do not.

ii. Since we have many needs and desires, he has classified them into basic, low desires to more complex desires

iii. A person advances to higher levels of needs after lower ones have been, at least minimally satisfied.

iv. The further the progress up the hierarchy, the more individuality, humanness and psychological health a person will show.

The needs are listed below, lowest to more complex (lowest-latest)

  • Physiological needs (hunger, thirst, sleep etc)
  • Safety/Security/Shelter/Health
  • Belongingness/Love/Friendship
  • Self-esteem/Recognition/Achievement
  • Self-actualization

b)Alderfer’s ERG theory

Alderfer developed the ERG theory, which is  a further classification of the hierarchy of needs, still starting from the lower to the higher.

E stands for the Existence, the lower category of needs, the R for the Relatedness, love and self-esteem needs, while the G for the higher category need of Growth, the self-actualization needs.

Edward Deci and Richard Ryan ‘s Self-Determination Theory

Edward Deci and Richard Ryan ‘s self-determination theory focus on people inherent growth and their innate psychological needs as motivation behind people choices, without external influence or interference. It can be classified in the intrinsic motivation division.

Cognitive theories

Under cognitive theories comes the Goal Setting Theory, which means that individuals” behaviors can be driven by a clearly expected outcome. Sometimes, the expected outcome is in itself the reward.  The time you set for the achievement of a goal, the level of complexity/difficulty of the goal and the specificity of the goal determine success in its achievement. 

An ideal goal is one where initiation of action and achievement time is close. A goal must neither be too hard nor too easy to attain. Too hard might discourage effort while too easy does not bring the satisfaction that adds to self-esteem. Finally, a goal should be precise. If you tell the student he should do his best or get the best grade of the classroom is not precise. For example, if the exams are marked by grades A, B, C and D and he has brought a C before, asking him to aim for a B is a precise goal. Learn more about goal setting strategies here, as it is a major key for success.  

Cognitive dissonance theory

Cognitive dissonance, a theory developed by Leon Festinger is the rationalization of one’s action when there is absence of alignment between a desired goal and the action taken. 

To illustrate this motivation theory, instead of studying harder to pass his exams, the student will justify his not passing his exams by saying that passing exams does not necessarily guarantee a successful career. 

Unconscious motivation theory

According to some psychologists, some actions or behaviors are triggered by motives that are not those they seem to be at the surface. 

For example, someone who is accident prone may not be careless or ignorant of safety rules, but because of unconscious desire to hurt himself. 

Similarly some people eat, not because they are hungry for food, but for fighting and kissing.  Eating seems to be a defensive reaction to lack of attention.

It is also believed, in the case of workers who damage more equipment than others, that they do so because of unconscious feelings of aggression towards authority figures.

Unconscious motives makes interpretation of human behavior more complicated. Knowledge of unconscious motives to behavior adds to better assessments of irrational behavior.

Some psychotherapists deny the existence of unconscious motives, while some others believe that they are only activated in times of anxiety and stress, and that in the ordinary course of events, human behavior is purposeful.

There are several defense mechanisms to unconscious motivations, Rationalization is one such disguise, explaining away one’s behavior that is obviously incompatible to one’s values. Projection, attribution of one’s faults to others is another devices.

The intrinsic and the 16 basic desires theory

This theory has been developed from a study involving more than 6000 subjects, carried out by Professor Steven Reiss. He proposes that all human behavior is motivated are the 16 basic needs listed below:

a) Acceptance, the need for approval

b) Curiosity, the need to learn

c) Eating, the need for food

d) Family, the need to raise children

e) Honor, the need to be loyal to one traditional values of one’s social group

f) Idealism, the need for social justice

g) Independence, the need for individuality

h) Order, the need for organized, stable, predictable environments.

i) Physical activity, the need for exercise

j) Power, the need for influence of will

k) Romance, the need for sex

l) Saving, the need to collect

m) Social Contact, the need for friends (relationships)

n) Status, the need for social standing/status

o) Tranquility, the need to be safe

p) Vengeance, the need to strike back/to win

Learn more about motivation and motivation theories:

Motivation In The Workplace
Motivation in the workplace is obviously very important. Creating a motivating environment in your workplace produces happy employees; therefore low staff turnover and absenteeism, enhanced productivity, satisfied customers and better financial performance.

Self Motivation Tips For A Successful Life
Self motivation tips to heighten your vitality, self-esteem and general well-being by enhancing your creativity, performance and persistence.

Intrinsic Motivation - Act Without External Pressure
Intrinsic motivation refers motivation doing an activity for its own sake because it is interesting and satisfying in itself, in opposition to doing something for an external reward. In that sense, the reward is inherent to that activity. 

From "Motivation Theories" To Home Page Of Life Success Secrets