Basics of Motivation

by RJ on June 8, 2012

Basics of Motivation


What is motivation? Motivation is the reason why people do the things they do. It is actually impossible to motivate anyone else because all true motivation is self motivation. People are already motivated, some good, and some bad.


People are motivated by two types of drives, needs and values.


What are needs?


Our most basic needs are physical. To insure our survival, we need food, shelter and sleep. The key word here is survival. If you needed food and a place to sleep you wouldn’t think much about anything else all day. You might even rob or kill to survive. Picture yourself a street person with no food, no shelter and no job. You’re hungry and tired. Would you be thinking about buying a Mercedes or a BMW? Would you be thinking about what color drapes or rugs you would be buying for your living room? Would you be thinking about what kind of fertilizer to buy for your front lawn? You definitely wouldn’t be thinking about a career promotion. You would be thinking about how to get some food in your stomach to survive and then a place to sleep.


Once our physical needs have been satisfied, the need for safety emerges. You might be worried if someone will try to kill me as I sleep in this alley. You might be worried if someone will try to rob your shoes while I sleep in this shelter. If you live in a cold climate you would try to find shelter where there is heat. If you live in Las Vegas or Phoenix you would try to find shelter with air conditioning in the summer with temperatures over 100 degrees.


When you are safe from harm, injury or loss, then a third level of need emerges. The need for love, affection or belonging. We all need some form of love whether it’s from other people or maybe God or your choice of spiritual fulfillment. It could be your church, company peers, civic group, family, sports team, school or maybe a barroom like the TV series Cheers. Living inLas Vegas, I see this all the time watching locals come into the local casinos or bars and find someone that they can talk to or find some solace. Don’t you feel great when you belong and someone cares and listens? The negative side of this need for love, affection and belonging is when people join gangs. Gangs do provide this need to those who can’t find a positive group to belong to and yearn for some sense of belonging.


After these needs are met the need for self esteem arises. This includes the desire for achievement and fulfillment. Self fulfillment is the need for people to grow in a direction that allows them to use their potential according to their goals, expectations and purpose in life. Isn’t it true that when you have your basic needs met, you now want the fringes? You now want a bigger home in a better neighborhood, luxury cars, several vacations a year, a second home, excess cash, expensive clothes, boat, rental property, better schools for your children, country club memberships and the list goes on. I’ll bet you can add more. We also want people to notice us for our accomplishments. You are now being judged if you are a VP, President, Manager, director, owner, CEO, CFO, Chairman, founder and this list can go on forever.


To summarize, people are motivated by needs and values. Our first need is survival, the second need is belonging, and the third is achievement and fulfillment. Remember people are motivated for their reasons and not yours.

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