WHAT IS MOTIVATION?. Making changes in your life is great and it is the way we grow and develop as people. Change is a constant process and part of being human. When you embark on changing anything in your life you have to start from where you are. Until you know where that is it would be difficult to effectively make the change. You have to start with a baseline. Starting with a baseline is about honestly figuring out where you are and what you are doing so that you know exactly what needs to be changed. It may sound odd, but many of us are unaware of what we do.

Concept of Motivation:

  • Motivation is something that encourages action or feeling.
  • To motivate means to encourage and inspire.
  • Motivation can also mean turning on or igniting the feeling or action.
  • Motivation is powerful.
  • It can persuade, convince and propel you into action.
  • In other words, motivation can be defined as a motive for action.
  • It is a force that can change your life.

Motivation is the driving force in our lives.

  • It comes from a desire to succeed.
  • Without success there is little pride in life; no enjoyment or excitement at work and home.
  • Often life becomes like a lopsided wheel giving a bumpy ride.
  • The greatest enemy of motivation is complacence.
  • Complacency leads to frustration, and when people are frustrated they give up because they cannot identify what is important.

Significance and types:

  • Once you understand the principle that motivates the motivator, you can proceed to achieve your goal and can motivate others too.
  • Your internal motivation is your drive and attitude.
  • It is contagious.
  • Attitude is the key to getting the response you want from others.

How does a person stay motivated and focused?

  • One important tool that has been used by athletes for a long time is called auto-suggestion.
  • Auto suggestions are positive statements made in the present tense and repeated regularly.
  • In other words, it is positive self-talk.

Motivation is classified into two types:

  • 1. External motivation and
  • 2. Internal motivation.


  • External motivation comes from outside, such as money, societal approval, fame, or fear.
  • Examples of external motivation are fear of getting spanked by parents and fear of getting fired at work.
  • A company wanted to set up a pension plan.
  • For the plan to be installed, it needed 100% participation.
  • Everyone signed up except John.
  • The plan made sense and was in the best interest of everyone.
  • John not signing was the only obstacle.
  • John’s supervisor and other co-workers had tried to persuade him without success.
  • The owner of the company called John into his office and said, “John, here is a pen and these are the papers for you to sign to enroll in the pension plan.
  • If you don’t enroll, you are fired this minute.”
  • John signed right away. The owner asked John why he hadn’t signed earlier.
  • John replied, “No one explained the plan quite as clearly as you did.”

1 Fear Motivation

The advantages of fear motivation are:

  • It gets the job done quickly.
  • It is instantaneous.
  • It prevents loss, by meeting deadlines.
  • In the short run, the person’s performance may improve.

The disadvantages of fear motivation are:

  • It is external, which means the motivation is there while the motivator is there.
  • When the motivator goes, the motivation also goes.
  • It causes stress.
  • Performance is limited to compliance.
  • In the long run, performance goes down.
  • It destroys creativity.
  • They get used to the stick and then need a bigger stick.
  • Example: A customer asked an employee, “When did you start working here?” He replied, “Ever since they threatened to fire me.”

 2. Incentive Motivation

  • External motivation can also take the form of incentives, bonuses, commission, recognition, etc.

What are the advantages of incentive motivation?

  • The major advantage is that it can work very well as long as the incentive is strong enough.
  • Think of a donkey with a carrot dangling in front and with a cart behind.
  • Incentive motivation will only work if the donkey is hungry enough, the carrot is sweet enough and the load is light enough.
  • From time to time, you have to let the donkey take a bite of the carrot; otherwise, it is going to get discouraged.
  • After the donkey takes a bite, its stomach is full, and you need to wait for the donkey to get hungry again before it will pull the cart.
  • This is typically seen in our business environment.
  • The moment salespeople meet their quota, they stop working.
  • This is because their motivation is limited to meeting their quota.
  • That is external, not internal.


  • Internal motivation is the inner gratification, not for success or winning, but for the fulfillment that comes from having done it.
  • It is a feeling of accomplishment, rather than just achieving a goal.
  • Reaching an unworthy goal does not give a gratifying feeling.
  • Internal motivation is lasting because it comes from within and translates into self-motivation.
  • Motivation needs to be identified and constantly strengthened to succeed.
  • Keep your goals in front of you and read them morning and evening.

The two most important motivating factors are recognition and responsibility.

  •  Recognition means being appreciated; being treated with respect and dignity, and feeling a sense of belonging.
  • Responsibility gives a person a feeling of belonging and ownership.
  • He then becomes part of the bigger picture.
  • Lack of responsibility can become demotivating.
  • Monetary rewards are temporary and short-lived; they are not gratifying in the long run.
  • In contrast, seeing an idea being implemented can be emotionally gratifying by itself.
  • People feel that they are not being treated as objects.
  • They feel part of a worthwhile team.
  • The reward of doing the right thing by itself is motivating.


1. Motivated Ineffective

  • This is the stage when the employee is most open-minded, receptive, and easy to mold to the culture of the organization.
  • Training and orientation become imperative.
  • Professional organizations, on the other hand, take special care to induct people into their organizations.
  • They explain to them, among other things, the following:
  • The hierarchy,
  • Expectations of each other,
  • Do’s and don’ts,
  • Parameters and guidelines,
  • What is acceptable and what is not,
  • What are the resources?

2. Motivated Effective:

  • This is the stage when the employee has learned what to do and does it with drive and energy.
  • He has learned the trade and it reflects in his performance.
  • Then he moves on to the next stage.

3. Demotivated Effective:

  • After some time the motivation level goes down and the employee starts learning the tricks of the trade.
  • This is the stage when the employee is not motivated.
  • He continues doing just enough so that the employer has no reason to fire him but he is not motivated.

This stage is detrimental to growth–most people in organizations fall into this third stage.

  • A motivated professional learns the trade and leaves the tricks to cheats and crooks, but a demotivated employee starts sabotaging the company.
  • His performance is marginal. He makes fun of the good performers.
  • He rejects new ideas and spreads negativity all around.
  • Our objective is to bring them back to the second stage of motivated effectiveness through training.
  • An employee ought not to stay in the third stage too long; because from here either they move back to the second stage, which is being motivated and effective, or they move into the fourth stage.

4. Demotivated Ineffective:

  • At this stage, the employer does not have much choice but to fire the employee, which may be the most appropriate thing to do anyway at this point.
  • Remember, employers, want the same thing as employees do.
  • They want to succeed and improve business and if employees help in this objective, then they make themselves valuable and achieve their success.


  1. Some of the demotivating factors are:
  2. Unfair criticism
  3. Negative criticism
  4. Public humiliation
  5. Rewarding the non-performer which can be demotivating for the performer
  6. Failure or fear of failure
  7. Success leads to complacency
  8. Lack of direction
  9. Lack of measurable objectives
  10. Low self-esteem
  11. Lack of priorities
  12. Negative self-talk
  13. Office politics
  14. Unfair treatment
  15. Hypocrisy
  16. Poor standards
  17. Frequent change
  18. Responsibility without authority


  • What we want to accomplish is self-motivation, when people do things for their reasons and not yours.
  • That is lasting motivation.
  • Remember, the greatest motivator is belief.
  • We have to inculcate in ourselves the belief that we are responsible for our actions and behavior.
  • When people accept responsibility, everything improves quality, productivity, relationships, and teamwork.

A few steps to motivate others:

  •  Give recognition
  • Give respect
  • Make work interesting
  • Be a good listener
  • Throw a challenge
  • Help but don’t do for others what they should do for themselves.




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