Motivation is a state of mind. It can be there one minute and gone the next. There is an internal process that creates motivation. All of us have a degree of motivation within us and we can use a number of techniques to increase it and make it last longer.
When an individual taps into their motivation they can drive themselves forward with renewed energy. The best way to define motivation is that it is a source of internal energy that provides a person with the drive to achieve specific goals. It influences the behavior of a person.
There are a number of things that influence motivation levels in humans. At the primal level, we are all motivated to drink water, eat food, find shelter, and procreate. Then there is the motivation to protect your health. We will do almost anything to fight disease and improve our wellbeing thanks to motivation.
Beyond primal and more basic needs, some people have the motivation to crave power, success, achievement, autonomy, higher self-esteem, and so on. Although this motivation is probably in all of us, only a few people actually use their motivation to achieve these things.
How do Psychologists see Motivation?
The psychologists believe that motivation is detectable and visible by means of behavior, engagement levels, neural activation as well as psychophysiology. So let’s take a look at each of these in turn:
Motivation and Behavior
Psychologists believe that motivational behavior centers around quality, intensity, and presence. They believe that you can see motivation through facial expressions and the gestures that people make as well as a sense of urgency and huge amounts of effort.
Motivation and Engagement Levels
Motivation is visible through levels of engagement. Someone that is highly motivated will engage a lot through conversation, paying attention to others, and showing a genuine interest in them. A highly motivated person will persistently demonstrate these high engagement levels.
Neural Activation and Motivation
Neural activations in the brain determine the rise and fall of motivation and are responsible for keeping a person in a motivational state. The motivation for different things creates different neural activities in the brain. So if you are hungry this will trigger different neural activities than if you want to overcome a business problem.
Psychophysiology and Motivation
Motivation is expressed at 5 different psychophysiological levels. These are ocular activity, hormonal activity, cardiovascular activity, skeletal activity, and electrodermal activity. As an example when a person is motivated they will experience a contraction and relax of their heart and surrounding vessels which is cardiovascular activity.
The Cycle of Motivation
Our motives to do something changes all of the time. This makes motivation a dynamic process. So motivation rises and falls in response to the circumstances an individual finds themselves in. People are driven by so many different motives in life. A person will make the decision which motive that is the strongest and this will become the dominant motive and demand the most attention.
Usually, this dominant motivation determines the behavior of a person. Motivation is dynamic and at any one time, another motive can dominate and change the behavior of the individual. To be successful in life a person needs to be aware of the dynamic properties of motivation.