Motivation is the force that initiates us to take a particular action, or series of actions in order to achieve specific goals, and is one of the most crucial factors needed in order to achieve success. We can all recognise the difference between feeling motivated or not, and how it affects our subsequent attitude, approach and performance towards a particular subject. If we compare motivation in an industrialised society with it’s material and monetary values to those of a less industrialised part of the world, the motivational triggers for people in one region who strive for more and more financial wealth and material goods, would no doubt be very different from someone whose most essential task each day is to walk many miles to find clean drinking water. In the western material world, many people are conditioned to be motivated by career success and monetary reward.
George Harrison of the Beatles realised at a fairly young age that once financial wealth was achieved, that money alone was certainly not the key to making people happy. Many others have also found that material reward alone (which for many people may well have been programmed to be their major initial motivational factor) no longer has the same value as was first thought, therefore some deeper and more meaningful level of fulfilment is desired. Motivation then tends to stem from an alternative perspective, this often being more morally, or spiritually based.
In terms of psychology, motivation is broken into categorised theories. Humanistic, Instinctive, Drive, Arousal, and Incentive. Although these categories broadly cover some aspects of human behaviour, they are a simplistic view of our complex make-up, and fall short of covering the deeper meaning of motivation as a whole. Let’s take a look at those theories in a bit more detail;
In 1943 the Humanistic psychologist Abraham Masler described his hierachy of needs in his paper “A Theory of human motivation”. This is represented in the diagram on the right.The pyramid illustrates the hierarchical structure based upon our most basic needs at the bottom of the pyramid, working up to self actualisation through more and more refined aspects of human evolutionary progress. Our intellect has developed over time, both as an evolving human species, and on a personal basis in our own individual lives from birth till death. The sections within the pyramid hierarchy suggests that we are motivated to initially achieve our most fundamental needs before moving onto the next level. The structure is dynamic, which is demonstrated with our ongoing daily need to revert back to the basics essential functions such as eating and surviving before anything else.
Masler’s Hierachy of needs
This theory suggests that we are motivated by pre-programmed behaviour patterns that ensure our basic survival by instinctive motivation allowing us to fulfil our natural drive by finding and eating food, finding shelter, getting sufficient sleep and reproducing to continue the survival of our species.
This theory is inherently linked to the instinct theory as it relates to our drive to fulfil biological needs such as quenching thirst, ridding ourselves of hunger, although in our modern world the natural instinct to eat for survival has been distorted beyond it’s primary survival function, and has been superceded in many cases where people eat for comfort or pleasure way beyond their bodily minimum requirements. Therefore this theory can now seem somewhat outdated in some aspects of life.
This is based on the principle that we are either over aroused or under aroused and we will subsequently take particular actions to redress the right balance. Examples could include seeking stimulation through entertainment for pleasure, a desire for lust, seeking peace and solace following over-indulgence or decadence of some kind.
This suggests that we are motivated to do something in return for reward of some kind. Examples could include extrinsically (externally) motivated tasks like being paid money for work, looking for a better paid job to move somewhere nicer to live, or winning a sports trophy. Or perhaps we may be intrinsically (internally) motivated by learning to play the piano purely for the personal gratification.
We can see that each category has blurry edges and blends with every other category to some extent depending on many different factors and circumstances.
Whatever the category we all need to be continually motivated throughout our lives, whether that is to simply want to get out of bed in the morning, or to climb Mount Everest. However, if we lose our ‘get up and go’ for whatever reason and want to re-start it, it’s handy to know that some additional assistance is available to us. Hypnotherapy can help this re-start process. The hypnosis audio products available through this page offer a range of solutions from broad spectrum motivation issues to more specific topics such as business to sports and many other areas besides.