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What is Motivation?

Last month, in one of the lectures, one of my classmates gave an excellent response to the question asked by the professor. I was flabbergasted. After the lecture, accidently I happen to cross her. Suddenly I prompted, “Your answer was perfect. It was one of the best I ever came across.” But to my disbelief, she frowned, “Are you making fun of me..? Just Leave..!” Since I was a newly joined somebody passing by overheard our communication and prompted, “Cool down buddy..! It’s not her mistake, she has never been appreciated. In fact, no one had ever said a simple "Thank you" to her.” Those words passed by my ears as a sudden gush of wind. Form then I always wondered, “Why people don’t understand that Motivation can do wonders?” Those who have seen the movie Forrest Gump, they might know how motivation can do wonders. There is a scene depicting how a lame boy, named Forrest, wearing crutches run just because her girlfriend cheers him to run when a group of maniacs wanted to thrash him.

What is Motivation? Motivation is the intangible catalyst that helps you achieve your desired goal. It drives you to work hard and reach whatever you aim for. When things are not going your way, Motivation provides you the energy and enthusiasm to get up and keep going. According to me, there are only two types of people in the world. One who are born lucky and get everything they want, though less in number, and the rest who can achieve everything. So what is lacking in them..? What stops them in not getting what they want..? The missing spark is of Motivation. There are several self-help books available in the market. Nearly everyone who has read at least one of those books knows the solution of the problem they face but ask them, are they following the same. More than 99% of the people will say, “No.” You may wonder why this is happening.


The simple answer is lack of motivation.The biggest motivation is self-belief. If a person really thinks he can, then he will. People never accept responsibility for their behavior and actions. They are afraid of what people might say and this is the biggest de-motivator.

For me motivation can occur only when gain will exceed pain.

Types of Motivation There are two kinds of motivation extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Both are two different types of positive reinforcement. The formerdeal with giving incentives in form of money, rewards etc. and the latter is a real self-motivation. The latter is more effective than the former in the long runas it indicates that the individual has a real concern in doing something he loves.These days, managers use rewards and incentives as a motivation factor to make employees achieve the pre-set target. However,many times these produce short term results as the person has no real interest in performing the task.

For example, these days in a B – School the main motto of the studentsis to pass the exams. They study for two odd days before the exams, get motivated by the grade and appear for it. However,they have no real interest in learning. Once they have accomplished the goal, i.e. passed the exam,they do not have any interest left in learning more about the subject.On the contrary, students who want to learn a subject because they like it and they think that it is somewhat essential for their future will be much more motivated and will attain better grades.

This is called intrinsic motivation.

In order to create intrinsic motivation, you have to make individualsinvolve in anissue or an action and you should make them well aware that how it will benefit them and how it is going to improve their life in future. Intrinsic motivation develops automatically from our inner-self. It’s impossible to create that sense of motivation because it is based on true interest of an individual and this shows a bigger picture.

Motivation by Fear This is a kind of extrinsic motivation but works best in case of emergency. Many companies follow this. Examples of motivation by fear are fear of getting spanked by parents, fear of getting fired at work etc.This can be better understood by a small old story.

A company came up with a plan. In order to initiate the plan, it needed all affirmative votes. Each of the members signed except Jack. The plan was good and was beneficial for everyone. The only problem was Jack. Hissupervisor tried to persuade him but failed. The CEO of the company called Jack into his office and said, "Jack, here is a pen andthese are the papers for you to sign to approve the plan.

If you don't sign, you are fired this minute." Jack signed right away. The CEO asked Jack, “Why you hadn't signed earlier..?” Jack replied, "No one explained the plan quite as clearly as you did it today."

Some notable advantages of motivation by fear are as follows:
1. Target is accomplished quickly.
2. It has immediate effect.
3. Helps in finishing work on time and, thus, prevent losses.
4. Improve employee’s performance in the short run.

Why Extrinsic Motivation is not long lasting?
The major advantage is that it canwork very well as long as the incentive is huge. Everybody must have heard of the story where the donkey with a carrothanging in his frontand he is pulling the cart thinking that he will reach the carrot sometime. Incentive motivation workstill the donkeyis famished, the carrot is sweet and the load is light. At regular intervals, you have to let the donkey take a bite of the carrot;else it getsdiscouraged. After the bite, you need to wait forthe donkey to get hungry again to pull the cart further.

Something similar happens in the actual world. The moment salespersons meet the pre-assigned target, they stop working.This is just because their motivation is restricted to accomplishing their target. That is external, not internal.

Contributing Writer:  Pranav Chawla
B.E. (Polymer), MIT Pune, MBA (Operations + Marketing), IMT Nagpur


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