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Types of Motivation

Jul 13, 2008
Motivation involves the basic psychological reasons for a person's actions and behavior. These are the forces or factors that cause a person to act a certain way or to behave in the manner that they do.

There are various types of motivations that can influence a person. These include the following:

Primary or Basic Motivation

This mainly pertains to motives involved with our need for self-preservation. This includes needs such as hunger and thirst, warmth, sex, avoidance of pain and other primary motives which influence a person's behaviour at a very basic level.

Secondary Motivation

More known in psychology as "learned" motivation, this type of "drives" differ from one person to another. In many ways they involve a person's own sense of values and priorities in life.

Many of the behaviour derived from secondary motivation are conscious ones. That is, a person consciously desires a particular goal or result, and behaves in a way that brings them closer to that particular goal. What drives them to do something or to act in a particular way is the longing for something which they currently do not have or possess.

This kind of motivation generally falls into two basic types: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation is likely to involve the concept of rewarded behavior. Thus, by engaging in a particular type of activity or behaving in a particular manner, you are "rewarded" by a desired end result.

For instance, you are motivated to save money for a vacation. Hence, you resist the urge to make impulsive purchases and in general become more discriminating in how you spend your money. After a time you find that you have a steadily growing amount of savings which you set aside. When you find that you have saved enough for that trip, you utilize your savings for the intended purpose and go on vacation. The external motivation is the vacation, which is also the reward for your act of saving for it.

Internal Motivation

On the other hand, there are other less-visible types of motivation.

It would be a mistake to say that such behaviour does not come without its own rewards. To be more precise, the end goal is not a visible or external thing, but more internal and psychological. The achievement of these goals - by itself also correctly seen as a reward - is in general not visible to other persons.

Thus, for instance, a student is motivated to get good grades (external motivation) or simply, he desires to know more about a particular subject (intrinsic motivation). Getting good grades is the reward visible to others. For the student, the fact that he has become an expert in a particular subject or lesson is also a psychological reward for his intrinsic desire to learn.

Successful Motivated Behaviour

Good and effective actions or behaviour usually involves the harmonizing of these two types of motivation. If one is driven by both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, then inner conflict is reduced and a person is more likely to devote uninterrupted and harmonious actions towards a particular task.

The inner and external rewards too, are good reinforcing mechanisms. For many people, this is really the means towards success. By choosing goals that you desire - both in its intrinsic and extrinsic rewards - you can harmonize your own actions and devote your energies to your goals. In such instances, the chances of achievement increases greatly.
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Benedict Smythe recommends PDL Courses for training in most professional skills including assertiveness skills and Supervisory Management skills
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