What Is Motivation

what is motivation
Have you always wondered, “What is motivation?”

On this page we are going to break down exactly how the conscious and unconscious mind plays a vital role in what gets people to do what they do.


Motivation entails the emotional, biological, cognitive and social forces that drive our behavior. In everyday use, the word motivation is often used to explain why an individual does something.

For instance, you can say that a person who is motivated to secure a good grade in his behavioral psychology test spends every day studying for it.

A Definition of Motivation

Motivation can be defined in terms of various factors that direct, activate, and maintain our goal-directed behavior. A motive is the reason behind a certain behavior; it is the want or need that drives our behavior and explains what we often do. Although we do not observe our motives; instead, we can infer that they exist on the basis of the behavior that we observe.

A Brief Look at how the Mind and Subconscious Works

Your subconscious mind often plays an important part when it comes to shaping your personality, influencing your behavior, and consequently your whole life. To get familiar with how your subconscious works you must think of it as the component of the mind that stores volume of information you are not aware of consciously.

You can think of your subconscious mind like a huge memory bank that contains your memories, beliefs, and life experiences. The loads of information contained in your subconscious often influence your actions and behavior in various situations and this affects your daily motivation.

For example, if you tend to lack self confidence due to specific beliefs and notions you have regarding yourself (these are contained in the subconscious mind), it is likely you may begin to feel nervous and anxious around people. This can lead to de-motivation. In this situation, you were anxious as your subconscious had false or misleading information that lead you to believe you were facing some kind of danger when, actually, you were not.

An interesting and important fact about how your subconscious mind works is it affects your behavior as well as your perception of different events. So, in the prior example, if you noticed two individuals smiling at you, you may incorrectly conclude they were trying to make fun of you.

Why we Lose Motivation

We tend to lose motivation for a number of reasons. It may be because of laziness, weak desires, or simply shyness, and at times the reasons might be lack of self confidence and self esteem.

1. One reason that explains our loss of motivation is the lack of focus which hinders our vision. As humans, we often think in terms of what we do not want, instead of going after a targeted and well-defined goal. We often think in terms of fear. This ultimately drains the tiniest of enthusiasm and zeal that keeps us motivated.

2. Lack of direction is another reason we lose motivation. It is important to have a definite goal which requires focus, but a daily plan to attain the goal requires direction. Without a sense of direction, you will not know what step needs to be taken next, and you are likely to give in to procrastination.

Ways we can Stay Motivated

We can take the following steps to stay motivated:

1. Once you have identified the different activities that will help you achieve your vision, you have completed half of the job. Now you just have to put the pieces together. Come up with a list of fruitful and productive activities and arrange them on the basis of priority. Finally, devise a plan of action that targets those activities and lead to huge returns.

2. On a daily basis, devote some time to concentrate on and notice the positive aspects of your life. Make a list of your strengths, advantages and your past achievements. Do not take your strengths and accomplishments for granted; instead concentrate on your successes and value your talents.

Ways to Motivate Other People

1. The most important thing you can do to motivate others is to listen to them. Fight the urge to give a lengthy speech as it will not work. Listen carefully to the other person and find out about their dreams and goals; it helps immensely.

2. Another useful step is to encourage people, as it is usually scary to go after your dreams. People are often scared that they will look stupid or simply fail that they do not even give it a shot. This is where you can step in and encourage them by highlighting their strengths, achievements and unique skills. This would do their motivation a world of good.

Motivating Yourself

Learning how to get motivated can be quite challenging. The key is to take it one day at a time and chunk it down otherwise your mind will feel overwhelmed.