According to psychology, there exists a force that guides, maintains and initiates behaviors that are goal-oriented. This force is known as motivation. It leads us to take action to fulfill a certain goal or purpose. Motivation is itself guided by forces such as social, biological, cognitive or emotional. People are motivated towards a certain aim in different ways according to the different theories proposed by the psychologists. The natural programming inside the humans is what provides motivation is what the instinct theories suggest. Motivation comes from external rewards according to the incentive theory. Internal anxieties due to unfulfilled needs produce motivation as suggested by the drive theory. Arousal theory tells that people’s actions are guided by their levels of arousal. Thoughts and ideas about the future give us the motivation is what the expectancy theory tells. All these theories of motivation work differently for different people.
Observing my behavior and noticing what motivates me tells that the incentive theory of motivation works effectively on me. External rewards such as some statements or comments which are encouraging and appraising help me a lot in the accomplishment of my goal. I really can’t work enthusiastically if not given any appreciation for my work. Anything I do or work on requires some encouragement to lead me to work further. I have been noticing this since my childhood when I used to get motivated from good marks in the exams, appreciation comments from my parents and teachers, and whenever I did not work hard, my teachers used different techniques to bring about motivation in me.
Not all people respond the same way to the incentive theory of motivation. I have encountered many people for whom the concept of failure works effectively. Once they fail in something, it motivates them to work hard the next time. This doesn’t apply to me as effectively as encouragement or rewards does. In fact, I get more demotivated in the case of failure. Even if I had not done something good, or in the way required, I still yearn for some motivating and encouraging comments from the people around so that I can do better. There was an instance in my life when I failed, and it didn’t help me to work hard and perform better.
Every phase of life has its external rewards. For a school going kid, the external rewards might be toys or candies. After that, money plays a major role in motivating humans. We all get motivated if we’re known that we’ll be given a bonus on our performance. Encouragements in the form of bonuses, prizes, shields, etc. give a strong boost to anyone like me. The desire for appreciation and acknowledgment leads the individual to adopt motivated behavior.
Hence, people gain motivation from different things and in different ways. If an individual gets motivated by one thing doesn’t necessarily mean that the other person will also be motivated by the same thing. These theories of motivation help identify individual’s psyche and the mindset, and through these, his or her behaviors can be predicted. If people realize how the other person gets motivated and encouraged, performances will get much better. Parents can get much knowledge about their kids, teachers can help motivate the students to achieve their goal, and team leader in the workplace can get his or her colleagues work faster and better. Ellingson states, “Any theory of incentives must be based on assumptions about human nature, and the theorist must balance the desire for realism against the desire for parsimony” (Ellingson et al. 2006, p.2).
Ellingsen, Tore, and Magnus Johannesson. “Pride and prejudice: The human side of incentive theory.” American Economic Review 98.3 (2008): 990-1008.