What is Motivation?

Motivation is a driving factor for actions, willingness, and goals. These needs, wants or desires may be acquired through influence of culture, society, lifestyle, or may be generally innate. An individual’s motivation may be inspired by outside forces or by themselves.

Motivation has as many faces as there are human desires.

The simplest definition of motivation boils down to wanting (Baumeister, 2016). We want a change in behavior, thoughts, feelings, self-concept, environment, and relationships.

Motivation is an internal process. Whether we define it as a drive or a need, motivation is a condition inside us that desires a change, either in the self or the environment. When we tap into this well of energy, motivation endows the person with the drive and direction needed to engage with the environment in an adaptive, open-ended, and problem-solving sort of way (Reeve, 2015).

The essence of motivation is energized and persistent goal-directed behavior. When we are motivated, we move and take action.

Motivation is influenced by the satisfaction of needs that are either necessary for sustaining life or essential for wellbeing and growth. Physiological needs for food, water, and sex (yes sex) serve the organism to maintain life and also provide satisfaction from doing so.