Self-motivation is the key element to a completion of merely any task. Stephen R. Covey states that “motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly” (Evans 2012). Therefore, the outcome of an achievement by a motivated person is evaluated as more efficient, creative, better in quality, approach, and lesser time required for completion. The lack of motivation results in failure of completion of an activity, decrease productivity, as well as cessation of task production. Humans need motivation in order to live, fulfilling their basic needs and avoiding unwanted and unfortunate outcomes, reach a desired goal, and reproach higher values, such as ethics or morality. According to Evans (2012), successful performers use three self-motivational competencies: Initiative and Optimism, Achievement Drive and Commitment. According to the motivation theory, all this happens due to intrinsic and extrinsic elements, which are the inner and outer states of the human drive. These elements define the classification of motivation theories, relying on which, all human actions are performed.
Motivation theories are divided into two classification elements, known as Content and Process theories. These two categories explain human behavior answering the questions “what is the reason of an individual’s motivation to perform an activity?”, as well as “how does the motivation take place?” respectably. Each of these two theories has key elements for understanding motivation from different perspectives. This paper examines motivation theory by analyzing the Content and Process classification elements. It also provides insight onto understanding the approaches a person uses for self-motivation by supplying a range of examples. The overview of Motivation classification models concludes the reasoning of an individual when performing a task and aspects of drive one goes through while being motivated.
According to Maslow (1970), humans are selfish creatures, and all of our activities are a result of the urge to satisfy our basic and higher needs. His Theory of Hierarchy of Needs suggests that we have a range of needs, satisfaction of which is necessary for the survival of a human being (Maslow, 15). According to the basic need hierarchy, there are five elements, which designate the behavior of a human being: psychological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Psychological drive inquires the need for such basic elements of life support, as a need to breath, eat and drink, sleep, sex and support the bodily functions (Maslow, 15). The need for safety suggests that a person has an urge to be secured by providing oneself with a shelter, job, resources, keep good health, have a family, and understand such social constraints as morality (18). An individual also requires being loved and needed by friends, family, etc. and also have a close relationship and sexual intimacy (20). The next level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is the support of self-esteem, which motivates a person to have enough confidence to achieve something in life and respect the image and performance of others (21). The last step in the need for self actualization inquires higher intellectual and moral analysis, such as critical thinking, problem solving, justice and prejudice, perception of ethics, moral, creation, and facts analysis (22). This theory underlines that a person is unable to go to another level, unless have fully satisfied the previous. For instance, Maslow (1970) writes “obviously a good way to obscure the higher motivations, and to get a lopsided view of human capacities and human nature, is to make the organism extremely and chronically hungry or thirsty” (17). The author also adds higher purpose needs, such as the desire to know and to understand (23), and aesthetic needs (25). Nevertheless, these needs do not fully determine human behavior, which means people are motivated by a few needs blended in together (29). In other words, there are many other theories, which explain the inner and outer, or intrinsic and extrinsic effects of behavioral motivation.
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The Content approach of the Classification of Motivation theory describes the intrinsic perspective of an individual’s reasoning. Intrinsic motivation theory has been first introduced by Freud as Drive theory, which based the assumption that person is self-motivated by the need of satisfying, pleasing the drives, or urges one has to fulfill right away. The theory explains what motivates a person to perform an activity or a task, referring to the inner drives, which encourage behavior. “Intrinsic motivation is the energy source that is central to the active nature of the organism. It’s recognition highlights the important points that not all behaviors are drive-based, nor they are a function of external controls” write Deci and Ryan (11). In other words, intrinsic motivation engages a person to desire of successful completion of a project due to the satisfaction one gets after the performance (Deci & Ryan 127).
The Process approach of the Classification of Motivation theory describes the extrinsic perspective of an individual’s reasoning. This theory explains that some behavior of a person is motivated by the external reasons, which encourage a person continue their performance. Deci and Richard write that according to Woodworth “the activity can be initiated by an extrinsic motive but that “only when it is running by its own drive … can [it] run freely and effectively”” (12). Extrinsic motivation portrays the needs of experience of an individual or a sudden appearing of a need due to the circumstances occurred.
The locus of control of self-motivation can shift from intrinsic to extrinsic or vise versa or poses the elements of both at the same time. For instance, Cognitive Evaluation Theory suggests that the approaches used to discipline and motivate individuals can shift from one motivation type to another one (Gagne & Deci 332). For instance, employers choose a variety of techniques to induce the productivity of their workers by managing their work through “rewards, deadlines surveillance and evaluations” (Gagne & Deci 2005, 332). As to say, more competitive individuals tend to self-motivate in performing a task by an idea of increasing the self-esteem by winning a contest or a title of the worker of the month or year, getting a reward for an extra work, engaging into extra efforts for evaluation. The same approach works for the students, who are motivated to study to get a better grade on tests, exams, or become the holder of the grant for studies pursuit. Nevertheless, these approaches are effective to some employees, but are found unnecessary to others.
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Others choose to give their employers autonomy in their choice engaging an individual in critical thinking, analysis, creativity, self-reliance, or team work. Self Determination Theory is a type of intrinsic motivation, which bases on providing one with autonomy. Gagne & Deci (2005) write that “autonomy involves acting with a sense of volition and having the experience of choice. In the words of philosophers such as Dworkin (1988), autonomy means endorsing one’s actions at the highest level of re%uFB02ection” (334). Such approach tends to engage creative minds in working extra time just for the result. A person, therefore, receives pleasure for the process and also of the final result. Such approach can be applied also to the people, who join various clubs of interests in order to satisfy their need of knowledge and receive pleasure from engaging the self into an interesting activity. Another perspective on this approach is described in the article Endings That Set Us Free by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot suggesting how, at times, goodbyes and endings result in overall satisfaction of a person, feeling of completion and motivate a person to start life anew (2012).
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In conclusion, self-motivation is an initial driving force, which implies the needs and motives a person possesses. Regardless the choice of intrinsic or extrinsic approach, there is no human activity which occurs without at least some essential motivation. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1970), each individual’s activity and behavior sit on the simple issue of satisfying the basic needs of a human being. These drives define the transfer of a person to a next more complex level only in case of satisfaction of a lower level need. Self-motivation is also defined by the internal or external aspects, which affect performance. The Content-based approach identifies the activity of an individual by explaining why the person is motivated. The Cognitive Evaluation Theory suggests that the person is self-motivated for receiving a reward or making efforts for evaluation or an exam. The Process-based approach defines the behavior of a person answering to the question how a person is motivated referring to the Self Determination Theory, which suggests that an individual is empowered by the given freedom of action and pleasure received from the process of engaging into a behavior. However, these self-motivational approaches are only effective when applied correctly with regard to an individual specific needs and personality reference. One has to define personal preference and use them accordingly. Nevertheless, any motivational efforts are defined in accordance to the level a person commits to the process and performs initiative. The final result will depend also upon the optimistic expectations one poses for the completion of the task and achievement drive one has for a certain project.
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