What is motivation?

Hello everyone! My name is Marco Vukasinovich, but I signed up on my blog as “MARKOLAKERS”, because “LOS ANGELES LAKERS” is my favorite basketball club!

But, here, it will not be about the Lakers, but about Motivation, a topic that connects all people on this planet and about which I will write to you, in order to bring it closer to you and, if I can, help you achieve your goals and desires!

In everyday speech, we often come across the concept of motivation. Motivation is a concept that is closely related to behavior in all contexts and segments of life and work and is one of the most important factors influencing human behavior. But, it is certainly important to mention that motivation also reflects on the overall personality of the individual and the different contexts in which the individual acts.

The aim of this text is to answer the question of what motivation is and how it works in order to better understand the nature of this phenomenon.

What is motivation?

In order to be able to talk about motivation in general, we must determine its etymological origin, what is it and what does it represent?

Broadly speaking, motivation can be understood as a theoretical term, used to explain human behavior and the various needs that underlie it.

We can look for a slightly closer explanation of this phenomenon in the etymology of the word motivation. Namely, at the core of the term motivation is the Latin word motus, moves, movere – which means to move. However, this Latin word is at the core of English words’ – motion, momentum, but also the words’ emotion – which gives us an insight into the complexity of motivation as a construct.

In accordance with the presented meaning of the term, many theorists understand motivation as the driving force of an individual or more people, which encourages movement, action, which causes a certain behavior and which maintains and directs that behavior towards a goal. Here, it is important to mention the role of emotions, which are understood as the basic driver of action and behavior.

Motivation can be defined as a basic reason, instinct, need or desire that encourages a certain behavior. Motivation encourages us to take action to achieve set goals.

One of the classic definitions of motivation was given by Mullins (2002), who says that “motivation is the driving force by which people achieve their goals, needs and values”. Important elements of this definition relate precisely to the needs, values and goals, which are the basis of motivation that leads to action:

Needs are the basis of survival and can be physical or psychological; for example, hunger, thirst, the need to belong or be respected.

Values are an important element of motivation, because they refer to the belief in what is desirable and useful for an individual. For example, these are: family, health or well-being.

Goals are the outcomes we are guided by.

This definition is particularly interesting because it indicates that motivation, as a driving force, in addition to a certain need, includes values and goals – which largely determine the nature and intensity of motivation. Namely, our needs, values and goals are completely individual – two people can have the same goal, but different needs and values. For example, a person may want to win a race to feel good, or because he sees winning as the embodiment of his values (values that success is important).

Motivation components

In this part, we will try to answer the question – what other factors contribute to achieving the set goals?

When someone has a goal, for example, to run a marathon, lose a few pounds, pass an exam and so on, probably at the very beginning of the goal realization he realizes that the desire, in itself, is not enough to achieve the desired goal. Achieving a goal requires the ability to persevere despite difficulties. When we talk about motivation, we are also talking about perseverance and persistence in realizing the goal.

In this sense, we can talk about three main components of motivation: activation, persistence and intensity:

Activation involves the decision to initiate certain behavior. If we take participation in a marathon as an example of a goal, activation would refer to joining a group of runners preparing for a marathon, or starting independent preparation.

✓ Persistence refers to continuous goal-oriented effort, although obstacles may exist. An example of perseverance can be regular and dedicated training and preparation for the race, in order to achieve the set goal – a marathon, although it requires a significant investment of time, energy and resources.

✓ Intensity can be understood as the amount of concentration and energy that is directed towards achieving the goal. In the example of a marathon, intensity can be represented by the fact that one runner can prepare without much effort – by irregular exercise, while others would not miss group / individual training, would practice independently, get informed and read about preparations for the race. For the first we can say that it has less intensity, while the second achieves its goal with much stronger intensity.

Some theories that explain how motivation works

Although understanding these components of motivation is important for a more detailed understanding of it, the question can still be asked why some people can invest more persistence or intensity than others? What factors contribute to a better motivation of an individual? Numerous theories of motivation have tried to give an answer to this question, each from its own perspective. Here I will introduce you to the Theory of Achievement, the Theory of Attribution, as well as the key settings of internal and external motivation.

Achievement Theory (McClelland, 1961; Atkinson, 1974)

The goal of achievement theory is to explain why some individuals are more motivated to achieve than others. The theory is based on two psychological principles: the motive of the individual to achieve success and the motive of the individual to avoid failure. According to this approach, if a person’s inner motives for participation and challenge are stronger than their fear of failure, they will engage in more demanding and challenging tasks / activities. On the other hand, if their fear of failure is stronger than their internal motives for involvement, they will avoid complex and risky tasks, and resort to familiar and simpler things.

However, this individual characteristic does not have to be the only factor influencing motivation. Another important factor is the role of the context in which the individual finds himself – in terms of the probability of success and the incentive to succeed. An individual who has a low level of intrinsic motivation can become motivated if the probability of achieving success is high and the reward for achieving success is significant (according to Open Learn, Motivation and affecting motivation factors).

Attribution theory (Weiner, 1985)

Attribution theory focuses on how people explain their success or failure. According to this theory, people tend to understand the reasons why things happen, and attribution, as a process of searching for answers that try to explain the intentions, inner properties, motives and personality traits that determine behavior, enables understanding of actions and behavior.

According to this theory, people try to establish whether these behaviors are caused by external (individual environment) or internal (motives, attitudes, abilities) factors. Attributions, indirect. the explanations we create are important because they affect motivation indirect. The performances and explanations we create will have an impact on our self-confidence, as well as on the expectation of future success. It can also help us feel better, more confident, and the level of self-confidence will affect our motivation, because the more we believe in ourselves, the higher our motivation will be. For example, a winning tennis player may become more confident and willing to participate in new competitions before avoiding them (according to Open Learn, Motivation and affecting motivation factors).

Internal and external motivation

When we ask ourselves why we do the things we do and what drives our behavior, psychologists give different answers and reasons, and some of them refer to where the motivation comes from, indirect. to sources of motivation – whether the motivation comes from external or internal sources.

Motivation research is based on identifying the reasons why individuals spend personal resources to achieve various goals. The reasons are different and change over time, but are usually divided into external and internal motivational factors.

There are various divisions of motivation! But, the most important division is into internal (intrinsic) and external (extrinsic)! All other divisions and sub types are classified in these two basic ones!

Internal (intrinsic) motivation

Inner motivation refers to behavior that triggers inner satisfaction. In other words’, when the motivation for some kind of behavior or action in individuals comes from within because it is something that suits him naturally, we are talking about intrinsic motivation. This type of motivation is in contrast to external motivation, which includes engaging in behavior in order to earn rewards or avoid penalties.

When you do an activity for the sake of pure enjoyment of it, you do it because you are inherently motivated. Your motivation for a certain type of behavior comes entirely from the inside, and not from the desire to gain some kind of external satisfaction such as rewards, money or recognition.

External (extrinsic) motivation

Extrinsic motivation occurs when we are motivated to behave or engage in an activity in order to earn a reward or avoid punishment. That is, in this case, our behavior is not because we enjoy it or because we think it is right, but to get something in return or to avoid some unpleasant situation.

The award is characteristic of this type of motivation. Of course, the reward does not mean anything bad, but the question arises whether, for example, one learns because of the promised reward or some higher goals.

Extrinsic motivation is often less desirable than intrinsic motivation. When people are motivated in this way, the quality of their engagement, perseverance and creativity are usually of poorer quality.

Not only can external motivation interfere with internal motivation, but it is also inferior when it comes to motivation

External or internal motivation: which is better?

We cannot say that one form of motivation is better than another. Both internal and external motivation can effectively influence human behavior and encourage the execution of a certain action. It is also worth noting that the effectiveness of a particular type of motivation may vary in individuals. For example, some people prefer external rewards, while others place more emphasis on personal satisfaction.

In general, intrinsic motivation is considered the strongest incentive to achieve long-term goals. If an individual has a strong inner motivation, it is very likely that he will be successful in performing tasks. People who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to be:

Successful -achieve better results

• Dedicated – have a stronger sense of personal commitment

• Persistent -perform more persistently and are less likely to give up when faced with problems

• Creative – they are more creative and come up with new ideas and solutions more easily. Internal motivation is an important component of creativity, and as such it is inherent as the driving force of a successful entrepreneur.

But it also says that a person cannot always be intrinsically motivated.

Despite the shortcomings, extrinsic motivation remains important, especially in education and the workplace. Not every activity is pleasant for everyone, and not everyone can equally love the same things and be in favor of them. Therefore, in the absence of intrinsic motivation, we rely on extrinsic motivation to get the job done.

In organizational behavior, this type of motivation plays a crucial role in determining the behavior patterns of company employees. In any organization or company, employees are additionally motivated by the compensation they receive for their work. However, salary is not the only external factor of motivation, because many organizations provide many other rewards, such as bonuses, commissions, fees.

We must also recognize that intangible external rewards such as praise and recognition of work are usually very important to employees. This is one of the key managerial skills.

Overall, internal and external motivation form the underlying reasons, attitudes, and goals that encourage human behavior. They lie at the core of the very reason why we do something.

On one side YOU are, with all the virtues and flaws you possess! On the other side is your GOAL you want to achieve! And, between you and your goal is FAITH IN YOURSELF, PERSISTENCE, CONTINUOUS STRUGGLE, PAIN, FEAR, HOPE…, and all this is united by MOTIVATION !!!

It can be summed up in an inspirational thought, a “simple” word, in the form of a motivational message or anything that will encourage people to fight for what they want!

Each of my texts on Motivation, I will end with a sentence that motivates me, that is, inspires and guides me through life:


This was the first in a series of texts about motivation, a topic that I will write about in detail and I will try to present it as well as possible together with you!

If you have any suggestions that you would like me to write about when it comes to Motivation, feel free to contact me, and I will do my best to process them in the best way and as soon as possible and make them available!

I wish you all the best and see you soon!

And, don’t forget: “NEVER DEFEAT, JUST A LESSON” !!!



I hope you liked the content “What is motivation”?

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

For more motivational content, you can visit the sites https://motivationbymarco.com/ or https://www.psychologytoday.com/



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