Ways to Understand Motivation Better

Since you’re here, you’re probably searching for some motivation. It happens to the best of us. Whether you should be working on a big presentation for work or writing an article, we’re here to assist.

The problem is, no matter your job, we all struggle to stay motivated sometimes. But, fortunately, we aren’t powerless in this situation. Understanding the various types of motivation can help you avoid procrastination and stay focused.

When you know what motivates you, you can leverage it to get back on track when you lose your path. Sometimes it’s as simple as reminding yourself why you adore your work. Or, if you’re a leader, you might need a reward system to maintain your team at their best.

Let’s break down the categories of motivation and how they can help you get more done.

What Is Motivation?

At its core, motivation is the force that drives you to execute a task or behavior. It’s why you get up in the morning, brush your teeth, and go to work.

You probably don’t notice your motivation until you feel like it’s not there anymore. But, in actuality, many things drive you every day — even if you’re unaware of them.

In fact, it's the motivations we're unaware of that can have the greatest impact. Bringing them into the light, inspecting them and learning how to work with our different types of motivations helps us sail our craft rather than drift with the wind and current. It is a potent practice.

So even though you feel apathetic right now, consider this: something motivated you to seek up this article. You undoubtedly want to get back in the groove. That counts for something.

The Various Types Of Motivation

We can reduce things down to two motivational types: intrinsic and extrinsic. Both also have accompanying subtypes.

Intrinsic motivation (or internal motivation) originates from within. It refers to when you do something for its own sake because it correlates with your interests, passions, or personal values.

These motivators come with internal rewards, like the feeling of knowing you’re pursuing your life purpose. That means they hold a deeper meaning than other motivators, which can usually keep you focused on an objective for a long time.

Extrinsic motivation (or external motivation) refers to external factors that drive you to do something. For example, you could be motivated by extrinsic rewards or negative consequences.

What you get is based on you accomplishing (or not accomplishing) a task.

Extrinsic motivators are temporary in nature, so they’re best used for short to medium-term endeavors. In fact, studies have shown that individuals experience a boost in motivation when they’re promised an immediate reward.

External motivation can appear like students aiming to succeed in school because their grades reflect their performance. On the other hand, students who strive to succeed in school because they’re genuinely interested in the content are intrinsically motivated.

5 Categories Of Intrinsic Motivation

How Do Psychologists Define Motivation? | BetterHelp

Many factors can motivate a person from within. Below are some of the common examples. Try to see which ones you relate to. It could be a helpful reminder about why you do what you do.

1. Learning motivation (or competence motivation)

In this form of motivation, you’re driven by the act of learning. What you’re attempting to achieve is exciting because you’ve never done it before. You adore learning a new skill or improving on an existing one. In this case, the reward upon completing the task is less essential than the task itself.

Example: A university professor is driven by the pursuit of knowledge. For them, constant researching and learning motivate them to work every day.

2. Attitude motivation

If you have attitude motivation, you enjoy being positive and spreading positivity. It’s about making people feel good, so you seek out activities that enable you to do that.

Example: A gym trainer helps people have joy during their workouts with a great attitude. This motivates them to come to work each day.

3. Achievement motivation

For this form of motivation, you’re not necessarily thinking about the reward at the end — you just care about crossing the finish line. There’s no greater satisfaction than the sensation of accomplishment.

Example: A professional athlete desires to win, regardless of the prize or title. It’s the ultimate objective and makes the season's struggles worth it.

4. Creative motivation

You might find yourself motivated by creativity. If this type of motivation sounds familiar, you value freedom of expression and are happiest when people let you extend your wings.

Example: A graphic designer feels suffocated when they are micromanaged.

As a creative person, they’re happiest when they have the freedom to complete an undertaking how they choose.

5. Physiological motivation

Here you’re motivated by biological requirements like food and water. These motivations exist because years of evolution have made us this way.

Example: Consider Dr. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. He categorized humans’ fundamental motivators in order of importance, commencing with physical needs. As you meet these needs, you progressively progress toward self-actualization.

So what are your intrinsic motivators? At BetterUp, we can help you get to know yourself and remain productive — even when you’re in a slump.

What Are The 4 Categories Of External Motivation?

There are undoubtedly a few external factors driving your behavior, too. These forms of motivation are just as crucial as intrinsic ones if you can leverage them.

1. Incentive motivation

Incentive motivation is all about external rewards. Just like a rodent motivated by cheese, you’re motivated by the outcome of a task — not the task itself.

Example: After a workout, you allow yourself your favored snack. The snack is more essential to you than the exercise and motivates you to get the workout done.

2. Fear motivation

Here you’re motivated by the dread of an undesirable outcome. You don’t want to do the task, but you have to if you want to avoid a bad event.

Example: You save a portion of your paycheck for fear of an emergency when you would rather buy a TV. Fear motivation isn’t necessarily bad because it can help you attain financial wellness, like in this example.

3. Power motivation

It’s normal to want control over your own existence. But some individuals take it one step further: they want to control other people. There are many types of power, and they can be used for nefarious or altruistic purposes.

Example: A politician runs for president because they believe their ideas are beneficial for the world — they just need the power to implement them.

4. Social motivation

Social motivation defines the desire to be accepted by your social group. Here you’re motivated by what others perceive of you.

Example: You devote time learning social skills, like active listening, so that you can build stronger friendships. You want new acquaintances to like you.

The psychology of retention bonuses: understanding how incentives affect  employee motivation | TopCV

How To Use The Varieties Of Motivation To Your Advantage

Motivations mean nothing if you can’t convert that drive into action. Here are some examples of how you can implement these types of motivation into your everyday existence.

  • Goal-setting. Focusing on concrete goals is a wonderful method for people motivated by achievement.

  • Tell people about your objectives. For the socially motivated among you, telling people about your aims will keep you accountable.

  • Create a reward system. This is a perfect technique if you need an external incentive. In fact, you should always reward yourself for your victories.

  • Write about who you assisted. If you're attitude-motivated, take time to reflect on who you made smile at the end of the day. Keep a journal as a record of happy occasions.

  • Track your progress on an assignment. Doing so will remind you how well you’re doing.

  • Stay active. Exercise and taking care of your physical well-being are essential to your physiological requirements. Achieving this goal will help you remain on top of the others.

  • Eat healthy cuisine. Similar to exercise, your body requires good fuel to function at its best. Meet this need, and you will enhance your performance.

  • Use a monitoring app. Many apps will “gamify” tasks and objectives. They’ll provide a virtual reward to extrinsically motivate you.

Best Types Of Motivation For Various Scenarios

The types of motivation are at their best when you use them in the proper context. You should adapt, mix and match, and adjust based on your requirements. Here are some examples:

  • If you’re a teacher, you can use the motivators as categories of learning motivations. For example, if a student doesn’t like learning for the sake of it, use an extrinsic method to encourage studying. Also, consider that some students will be intrinsically motivated and work hard without prompting. This could socially motivate other students.

  • You can also use each form of motivation at work. If you’re a team leader or manager, set clear objectives and track them where everyone can see their progress. This can spark the team’s sense of achievement and enhance morale. Your team will likely internalize their desire to succeed and meet these objectives.

  • If an employee is underperforming, find out what their intrinsic motivators are. You can attempt to assign them projects based on what moves them.