Motivational Theories

Motivational theories are plentiful and have been researched by many people over the years.  But at the end of the day, all self improvement and motivation start from one point – and that point is DESIRE

Without the desire, you have no motivation, and you need motivation to act on your life goals.  It’s the driving force which propels you into action. 

Motivation concerns us all – we all need it, and it affects our daily lives, often without realizing it – sometimes we feel fed up, sometimes we feel down, things happen to disrupt our lives, but we motivate ourselves to pick ourselves up out of that situation and get on with our life.

Very often the word “motivation” conjures up pictures of pushy salesman being motivated to sales success, or team bonding that now seems to be very popular within companies.  People shy away from the very word in the hope that they don’t come across as “weird positive thinking people”.  If you want to be a success, you need to embrace motivation.

Motivational theories

Many of the motivational theories studied people in different scenarios, but the end results culminated in 5 levels of motivation, (or needs), and you will probably be able to identify with the one type of motivation that inspires you the most.  They are as follows:

Survival Motivation – Related Motivation

This motivational theory means that everyone uses motivation to survive.  Without maybe realizing it,

  • you are motivated to eat when hungry – these sort are intangible motivational theories known as related motivation, i.e. the need to stay alive.
  • Breathing is another example.
  • Sleep – I get totally motivated to go to bed at night when I’m exhausted and just want to go to sleep.  I could stay downstairs and fall asleep in a chair, but I motivate myself to get up and go to bed.   

You can’t actually control this type of motivation, as such, because your body does it for you.  

Safety Motivation – Intrinsic Motivation

The 2nd level of motivation is being motivated for the security of your well-being, and/or your family.

This takes the form of:

  • having a job and being motivated to make sure you keep the job, you are not made redundant or fired. You are motivated because you can then live, sleep and eat on what you get paid.  This type of motivation is called intrinsic motivation
  • Or you may have a motivation for exercise – that would be a safety motivation to keep healthy.
  • Maybe you have a property that you own and are motivated to keep it in your possession, you don’t want to lose it so you find the motivation to do what is necessary to make sure this happens – this is safety motivation. 
Types of motivation

Social Motivation

Motivation can be inspired by the social element in your life

  • You could be motivated by making friends
  • Being in a job where you are working with a team of people
  • Being in a customer related job where you interact with customers.
  • Or having a sense of belonging with your family and friends.

For some this is what motivates them, but for others it might not rock their boat.  For you it may be the self fulfilment or esteem level motivational theories.  But whichever level it is, so long as you have the desire to be motivated, you can and will achieve the success you want.

“The greatest reward success can bring is satisfaction” – Napoleon Hill

Esteem Motivation

Maybe you want

  • Recognition and praise for the work you have done
  • Maybe you are motivated to gaining more confidence
  • Or maybe you want rewards from your boss.
  • Or maybe you get motivation and self esteem from the responsibility of having an important job.

These are all emotions and desires that motivate you, and its due to the research studied into motivational theories that we have a much better understanding today of how  we are motivated, how our attitude affects our lives and, if applicable, how you can motivate others.

Self fulfillment Motivation

It’s time to fire up your motivation!

Most successful people are motivated by self fulfilment – they thrive on creative and challenging work.  They are successful at work and are totally motivated by self actualization.  They may not necessarily be motivated by the social motivation level.

But to delve deeper into causes of motivation, you must understand that different things motivate different people.  That way you can then motivate others.

Here are 10 basic motives, or reasons for why you get motivated, which I have taken from “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude” by Napoleon Hill and W Clement Stone.

  1. The desire for self preservation
  2. The emotion of love
  3. The emotion of fear
  4. The emotion of sex
  5. The desire for life after death
  6. The desire for freedom of body and mind
  7. The emotion of anger
  8. The emotion of hate
  9. The desire for recognition and self expression
  10. The desire for material gain.

And if you still find you can’t get motivated, here are 3 of the best motivation stories that I hope will inspire you and make you start to think about how motivated you are, what you need to do to get motivated and how you can use your  motivation to conquer that which you so DESIRE.

Best motivation stories

They were turned down by a recording company who didn’t like their sound and said that guitar music was on the way out – The Beatles!

He was dropped from his high school basketball team – he went home, locked himself in his room and cried – Michael Jordan!

He as fired from a newspaper because he had no original ideas and lacked imagination – Walt Disney!

All these people used at least one of the many motivational theories to eventually see through the fog and believe in themselves and become a success.  All must have aspired to Level  5 – having the motivation for self fulfilment.

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