This is how motivation works

You can do it! I believe in you! Such sentences motivate and drive, keep the engine running and prevent you from losing sight of your goals.

But what exactly is motivation? Why do we need them at all and how can you motivate yourself? You can read everything you need to know about it in this article.

Am I motivated yet?

Admittedly, in order to write this article, I had to motivate myself a little. Not because I don’t find the topic exciting – rather because I’ve never really dealt with it. You are motivated. Basta. But why at all? And what exactly is motivation? I had to deal with these questions first. A new task. unknown territory. “Can you even do that?” the voice in my head kicks in. There it is. The first obstacle that can nip motivation in the bud.

That voice in your head, known to most of us as the inner critic, can be demotivating. He activates the doubter in me, a hopeless pessimist. If I had left the stage to the inner critic, these lines would certainly not exist.

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Motivation needs a goal to be active

Motivation is especially important when I have a goal that I want to achieve. The word comes from the Latin verb “movere”, in English: to move, to drive. So motivation is my drive, the engine that activates and sustains my actions. One could also describe motivation as goal-directed behavior. This behavior is even embedded in our genes. Survival is one of the first and most fundamental human motivations. Newborns learn to suck and grab for survival. In adulthood, emotions still play an important role. For example, fear can be a negative drive that usually acts from the outside and thus fuels motivation. Joy can also be the motor and motivate people to take certain actions.

The power that comes from within drives

Motivation from the outside is called “extrinsic motivation” in technical jargon and that which comes from within is considered “intrinsic”. Apparently the motivation that comes from within, i.e. the intrinsic one, is very powerful. Let’s do the test: Imagine waking up on a Sunday morning and wanting a freshly baked croissant for breakfast. What will be their motivation to get out of bed and go to the nearest bakery? Definitely higher than when you were told to get up in the morning and get croissants – i.e. through external motivation. Behavioral researchers and psychologists also confirm this mechanism: On average, intrinsically motivated people try harder and have more stamina, so they work longer to achieve their goals.

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Belief in the success of one’s own vision moves mountains

Motivation is particularly high when I believe in the success of my own actions. This belief in the fulfillment of my goals and dreams comes into play even if I have to record a few failures along the way. But I will not give up and will continue. In the best-case scenario, I will even see the failures as something positive. In the sense of: I can learn from my mistakes and do it better next time – and this brings me even closer to my goal. In order to maintain motivation, however, rapid initial successes are needed. Repeated failures can quickly become frustrating and give up faster. Role models who have already made it are helpful. One of the most famous and beautiful success stories is that of Walt Disney.

The American animator had a vision: to open a huge amusement park with its animal figures. In his search for an investor, he had to put up with around 300 “no’s”. Because around 300 banks rejected his plans. But Walt Disney didn’t give up. He stuck with it, believed in himself and his vision and never lost motivation. In the end he got a “yes” from the next bank – and by now every child knows what happened to it.

Author: Iunia Mihu

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