One of the most important factors of our lives in addition to having a family, friends and good health is motivation. Motivation is a crucial human instinct which plays an important role in the progression of our lives. Motivation boosts human ambitions and often helps us achieve impossibly high goals.
Taken to the extreme motivation provides the very purpose of life and can be termed as one of the fundamentals of life. Motivation is the chief contributor of achievements in our life and a lack of motivation has often been cited as the major reason behind failure. Some people are born with motivation, others have motivation inculcated in them and it something which has to be harnessed and developed over time.
This article will introduce three main types of motivations which we use in life – intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation and utilitarian motivation. It is important to note at this stage that a person can have one, two or even all three types of these motivations.
Extrinsic Motivation: Extrinsic motivation can be defined as motivation to behave in a certain way or carry out a certain act in order to get a reward or avoid punishment. Examples of extrinsic motivation, that is, gaining rewards and avoiding punishment are: studying to get into a good college, competing in sports to get a medal, or taking part in a contest in order to win a scholarship or money.
So people may behave a certain way or carry out a certain activity for the end reward rather than the process of going through that activity. These traits of motivation are visible and quantifiable and sometimes have a market value. At its most obvious level extrinsic motivation makes people study and work in order to attain material wealth such as wealth, cars, property, and jewellery.
Extrinsic motivation is effective at early stages of motivational progression. There is usually a limit to extrinsic motivation which is usually exhausted after a certain point. There is a hierarchical progress leading to the threshold of the ultimate realization of motivation and extrinsic motivation is at the base line and is readily identifiable. Extrinsic motivation by and large is the most common manifestation of motivation.
However, extrinsic motivation has a number of benefits: the attraction of receiving a reward or avoiding punishment can ensure that a person takes part in an activity or learns a skill that he initially has no interest in. It also helps people take on new skills or new things to learn and that may eventually awaken their interest in that particular source of learning and turn it into intrinsic motivation (discussed below).
External rewards are also a source of feedback allowing people to find out whether they are good or bad at something they do (education, work or something in their home life).
Intrinsic Motivation: Intrinsic motivation is to behave in a certain manner or carry out a certain activity in order to please one’s self rather than keeping in mind some external reward or punishment. Examples of intrinsic motivation are: spending time cultivating your favourite hobby, playing a certain sport as it makes you happy, or studying a particular subject or learning something new because it is fulfilling for you. There are no external rewards and punishments determining the person’s behaviour.
Intrinsic motivation is based on the belief that there is a limit to material things fulfilling the spirit and one needs to proceed to a higher threshold of motivation – personal satisfaction. Intrinsic motivation is more inclined with our feelings and a sense of achievement as an individual. Intrinsic motivation comes in many shapes – acquisition of power, greater spiritual satisfaction, intellectual achievement or creativity being harnessed are a few examples of intrinsic motivation.
The pursuit of intrinsic motivation is considered to be more challenging and rewarding than extrinsic motivation since it requires a higher state of mental satisfaction.
There is no central barometer to gauge the level of intrinsic motivation present in an individual. The forces leading to intrinsic motivation are more abstract and have more to do with the state of mind as opposed to more visible elements. It is important to remember that intrinsic motivation may coexist with extrinsic motivation.
Utilitarian motivation: Utilitarian motivation takes into account maximizing motivation from the perspective of society. For utilitarian motivation to take place it is necessary that each member of society is motivated to improve their skills and achieve optimum efficiency.
Utilitarian motivation is a powerful concept as it views motivation as a collective phenomenon which focuses on maximizing the motivation level of the entire society rather than of an individual’s.
This is a macro approach led approach emphasizing on the society rather any particular individual or cross section of the society that is why it is concerned on maximizing the sum of utility of the entire society.The greater the utilitarian motivation: the higher the aggregate productivity—thus in theory the greater societal welfare.
Furthermore, utilitarian motivation involves constructive activities and acquiring skills that results in greater productivity.
The three types of motivation discussed in the article above are linked, correlated and also unique in their orientation. What is evident from looking at the three types of motivation is that motivation can help channel a sense of achievement and attainment of mental elevation. It acts a moral boosting mechanism, which is essential for the mind.
Motivation is the driving force to achieve aims, goals and objectives. It acts as a framework to make all positive endeavors happen in life. It rationalizes the fulfillment of one’s aspirations and dreams. It is the ultimate thrust that is necessary to touch the finish line. Motivation in all it manifestations is central to our lives.