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What is motivation and how does it affect my behavior?

Motivation is a feeling that people experience just like many other feelings. Literally, motivation accounts for the way individual acts or behaves in certain situations and overall in life. Since every person in this world sets life goal for themselves, the extent to which they are willing to put in effort depends on their level of motivation. In simple words, higher motivation can lead to efficiency in behaviour and low or lack of motivation can lead to procrastination and delayed work.

Motivation plays an important role in everyday tasks and is specifically essential in the corporate world. The level of motivation of employees determine the success of an organization and shapes the culture of a workplace. Motivation can be divided into extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and both of these can affect human behaviour. Extrinsic motivation occurs when an individual works or behaves in a certain way for an external factor or benefit. For example, student spending nights studying to achieve the highest grade makes the grade an external factor. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is one when an individual behaves in a certain way for personal satisfaction or internal desires and not for external factors.

How does motivation affect human behaviour?

There are numerous ways in which motivation can lead to changes in human behaviour. Following are some of the most notable ones:

  • Motivation and cognition: According to a study, people who are motivated tend to learn faster than less motivated people because of one reason: high motivation improves attention span. The more motivated you are, the more attention you pay to everything and hence learning is above average.While reading something, the cognitive process comes into play as motivated people are likely to read and understand the content critically while lack of motivation can lead to mere skimming of the content leading to insufficient learning.
  • Willingness to work hard: Another way in which motivation determines human behaviour is how much effort is an individual willing to put in. If you observe a group of people performing a similar task, not everyone will have the same level of motivation and hence there comes a difference in the amount of effort each one is putting in.A great example could be that of a program that could land you in a job. A competitor who is already offered a better job will not have the motivation to work hard even if they have an opposite personality. On the other hand, someone who prioritizes this organization over others because of, say, reputation will give their entire time and effort and show a willingness to work hard.
  • The idea behind situated motivation: The fact that motivation level can be altered due to changes in the immediate environment developed the idea of situated motivation. Certain critiques argue that the level of motivation for a task within individuals seldom change over time but it has been proved that immediate environment can, in fact, have an effect on motivation.Situated motivation can alter intrinsic as well as extrinsic sides. Considering the fact that immediate environment can even include your family, it is likely to change over time and this significantly impacts changes in human motivation levels.
  • Motivation and consequences: One important way in which motivation level can change the way a person behaves is by analyzing the consequences carefully. Every task you perform in life will either have a successful result or consequences that you would never want to experience. For example, if you know that upon completion of a project you will get a new company car, your motivation to work hard will boost up.Similarly, if the consequences are horrible, you are likely to work hard and feel more motivated to avoid them. For this reason, motivation can indeed be altered based on the consequences of your actions.
  • Motivation and performance: A change in behaviour can be identified by observing an individual’s way of working and thinking. A motivated person tends to think creatively and hence their performance is much better than people who lack motivation. In simple words, motivation leads to positive behaviour which in turn leads to improved performance.

These arguments prove that motivation does affect human behaviour and hence it is very important to keep this factor in mind as an employer and leader. A large number of multinational corporations are focusing on employee motivation simply because they want employees to give their best at work and be productive. Organizations with less motivated employees will eventually be driven out of the market due to increased costs. This rule applies to everyday life and not just in the corporate world.

Author bio: Harvey is a psychologist teaching human behaviour and psychology of love and attachment at a college in London. He offers essay writing online services as well along with counselling for disturbed employees.

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