We can talk about how something or someone motivated us, but by definition, motivation is internal. This is one of the principles that distinguishes Herzberg's motivation theory. It tells us that motivation is not "out there."
So, while many motivation techniques may use external factors, it's your internal perception that ultimately rules the day. For example, your ability to control your emotions impacts your motivation.
There are many ways we can define motivation, and it depends to some degree upon whether we look at the internal forces, or the resultant external behaviors.
Tony Robbins tells us that your "why" is more important than your how. One of the best exercises that I ever did was to write down what I wanted out of life and why.
The simplest definition of Motivation is that it is your why.
From the scientific viewpoint, by most accounts, motivation is defined as an inner state of need or desire. That state of desire creates a movement or activity towards satisfying that desire.
In my never-ending quest to spread the word about turning ideas into action, I view inspiration as the state of mind that primes us to come up with great ideas, and motivation as the state of mind that spurs us to action.
From a practical standpoint, we can dig into our motives in order to get better results, and move ourselves from point A to point B. For example, if you know what motivates you, you can use those motives to get yourself to do things that you wouldn't do otherwise. These same principles can be applied to motivating others as well.
Motivational techniques, therefore, are useful to teachers, leaders, parents, employers, and really, almost anyone. The key is in understanding that you are not motivating someone else. Instead, you are simply providing a circumstance that triggers that person to be motivated.
Motives can be said to be either deficiency based, or abundancy based. Deficiency based motives come from lack of something, and seek to remove the state of deficiency. Abundancy based motives seek to gain more of something.
Self-made millionaire T. Harv Ecker tells us that wealthy people have an abundance mindset... they play the game to win, whereas people without wealth have a deficiency mindset, and play the game so as not to lose.
We often use motivation to describe behavior, but that doesn't really give the whole picture. Often, there are layers of desire at work that emanate from some sort of internal state of being that is different from what we see on the surface.
For example, we might see a person who is failing in school. We could say that they are unmotivated. This may be far from accurate. In fact, they may be very motivated... to fail! Someone who feels unloved by their parents may, at some deep level, want to fail at what is expected of them in order to get their parents to show their love. They are trying to motivate their parents by creating an environment that they believe would bring out their supportive behavior. At the same time, they themselves are very motivated, just in a negative way!
This is why motivation, by definition, is said to be tied to belief systems. In short, and as a practical matter, the definition of motivation could be described as goal directed behavior.
Motivation, Goals, and Inspiration
Inspiration is the catalyst that gives you permission to dream. But dreams without action are just dreams. If you want to make your dreams a reality, you have to take action. Goals are how you gain focus and direct your action. In order to ensure that you accomplish your dreams, then, you need to set goals. If a goal is a dream with a deadline, then motivation is focused inspiration in action.
From a practical standpoint, results are what counts. Motivation is an internal experience, and different for all of us. The true definition of motivation then, is ultimately results oriented action. Remember, no matter what the outcome, you're always producing results.
What motivates your gambling?
Take a look at the sidebar as we have a little poll you may like to take part.