Where Does Motivation Come From?

Where does motivation come from?

Motivation comes from the root word motive. The definition of motive is the reason for wanting to do something and likewise motivation is what pushes you to complete your motive. Whatever the reason is if it pushes you towards completing your goal or motive it is your motivation. 

Now that you know where the word motivation comes from you are asking where it itself comes from.

Where Does Motivation Come From?

There are two places motivation comes from. Motivation can come from inside oneself known as intrinsic motivation or from outside sources such as other people this is known as extrinsic motivation.

You can be more specific about where motivation comes from branching the sources of motivation off into three types of motivations. Non-cognitive (or instinctive) motivation, cognitive motivation, or emotional motivation. Although each of these is still classifiable into intrinsic or extrinsic motivation.

Types Of Motivation

Non Cognitive Motivation

Non-cognitive or instinctive motivation is unarguably a form of intrinsic motivation as it comes from inside oneself. It is non-cognitive because you may not even be aware it is coming over you and you definitely have no control over it.

This is the kind of motivation or drive that may occur if you are in an instance where it is a life-or-death scenario. It is your body’s survival instincts.

Example of a life or death scenario where instincts will automatically kick in to motivate you

It is a sudden urge or rush of energy that is due to the increase of hormones like adrenaline in your body sparking an arousal that can seem to make one achieve power and behavior at superhuman levels. 

You do not consciously control the release of hormones like adrenaline and testosterone but they will definitely motivate or drive you further into getting out of whatever situation you’re in simply because it’s your body’s instinct to release these hormones that do so.

Hence why this is called a non-cognitive or instinctive kind of motivation.

Cognitive motivation

Cognitive motivation is probably the most common kind of motivation people experience and this kind of motivation comes from your mind and your thought processes.

This is why it is called cognitive motivation because it is due to thoughts that you know you are having and you have control of said thoughts. There is a lot of psychology behind it.

Many will say cognitive motivation can be a form of intrinsic or extrinsic motivation. It is a form of intrinsic motivation because your thoughts happen inside your own mind. 

Whether it be you remembering your goals and why you started, thinking about all the time you put in and where you want to be, or thinking about the better decision to make in order to reach your goal.

All these thoughts can motivate you and are a form of intrinsic cognitive motivation.

However some might say cognitive motivation can also be a form of extrinsic motivation and they have a good point.

If for example, you think about an idol you have or something really motivating that somebody has told you. These are thoughts you are having that motivate you, yes but you are thinking about things that happened externally.

Emotional Motivation

Emotional motivation is exactly what it may sound like. It is motivation or the desire, the drive to get things done sparked by your emotions and the emotions you are feeling. Since emotions come from inside of you this is a form of intrinsic motivation. 

An example of emotional motivation would be if one day you feel down and don’t want to do anything but something happens to you whether it be receiving a compliment from a person or some good news and this makes you happy and puts you in a good mood and you now feel like getting back to your tasks as a result of these motivators.

You might be wondering what separates emotional motivation from cognitive motivation as if someone gives you a compliment for example you have to be aware of and thinking about what they said to be motivated.

This is true but the difference is being a human you can have thoughts without emotions attached to them but you can not have emotions without thought as emotions are usually the result of a thought.

Also, you have no control over the emotions you feel no matter how they are triggered you can not stop yourself from feeling them. Whether it be you experiencing happiness that gets you into a good mood to do something or you experiencing fear that gets you into a bad mood.

So if any thought or action sparks emotional expression inside of you which are positive and motivates you then it should be considered a form of emotional motivation.

Which Motivation Is The Best?

When talking about motivation you can’t go wrong. Anything that gets you moving towards your goal, and increases your sense of commitment and or productivity is a blessing no matter what behaviors you’ve been experiencing lately.

The strongest form of motivation is noncognitive or instinctive motivation as it is usually sparked to get you out of a life or death situation and it would have to be really strong and have a high intensity to be effective in order to do so.

Even though this is the strongest form of motivation it is not controllable so it is not the most desirable or effective kind of motivation. You need something controllable in order to ensure it is turned into something positive.

Cognitive motivation being the most common kind of motivation is also the most desirable kind.

Since this motivation comes from thought processes it is willpower that is 100 percent controllable and since thoughts come from inside your mind the limit of this motivation is literally anything you can imagine.

So if you know how to get into the right mindset you can find seemingly limitless motivation and willingness.

To go back to the overall question for the takeaway where does motivation come from? It can be concluded that motivational drive comes from your brain and some might say your heart when it comes to emotions but the feeling of emotions is still processed in the brain.

Whether a form of extrinsic motivation or not everything has to pass through your mind before you experience the reward of motivation.

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