The Problem with Motivation: How to Overcome It

The Problem with Motivation: How to Overcome It

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We all know motivation is important for making progress towards your goals. Motivation is derived from the word, motive. Your motive speaks to a person’s needs, desires, wants or urges.

Motivation can be either extrinsic or intrinsic. That is, it can come from outside forces or from internal drives.

Understanding Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can help us understand motivation.


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The psychologist Abraham Maslow believed that humans are inherently motivated to better themselves and move towards fulfilling our full potential.

This later came to be known as the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

The theory posits that human beings are motivated by different types of needs, organized from those most essential to survival all the way to our spiritual needs. 

Those needs start with the most basic such as our physiological needs of seeking food, water, shelter and safety.

Then you have higher needs such as belonging and love needs. You also have esteem needs and at top of the hierarchy pyramid are self-actualization needs. You can only have motives to achieve those higher needs once your basic needs are met.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs captures fundamental truths about human motivation because it highlights that as humans, we have psychological elements that fuel and drive our behavior.

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The problem, is that motivation is fleeting. Some days you feel motivated, but others days, not so much.

That’s why motivation fits in a feedback loop with inspiration and action.

Sometimes, especially during times when you are less motivated, taking action can be your only cure. Action leads to motivation which leads to inspiration which leads into more action, and so on.

If everything else fails, ensure that you are taking action.


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