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Usain Bolt avoids thinking about his weaknesses before a race. Sometimes he thinks about how he will celebrate if he wins.[1] See: Self-talk

Usain Bolt beating Tyson Gay and setting a 100 meter world record at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in Berlin, Germany.

Motivation or motive (from Medieval Latin motivus, from motus, past participle of movere "move") is the conscious or unconscious drive or need that incites a person to some action, inaction or behavior, providing incentive; often a goal or purpose. To motivate oneself or others, is to provide a motive for action or inaction.[2] Both fear and devotion are powerful motivations. Sloth can also be a powerful motivation for avoiding responsibility and the possible pain or consequences of making any particular or general effort either for or against someone or something. Compare indifference.

"One of the theories that gives great insight on the first question - how to be sure we find happiness in our careers - is from Frederick Herzberg, who asserts that the powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements." [3]

It's not what motivates a scientist's argument that determines its validity; it's the quality of the evidence and analysis that the scientist uses to support the argument. [4] See Hypothesis.

Importance of motivation for success

Types of motivation

See also: Self-motivation

The website indicates:

"In thinking about self-motivation, it is helpful to understand what motivates you to do things.
There are two main types of motivators: ‘intrinsic’ and ‘extrinsic’.
In their simplest form you can think about these two types of motivation as:
Intrinsic = related to what we want to do.
Extrinsic = related to what we have to do.
A more detailed definition is:
Intrinsic: To perform an action or task based on the expected or perceived satisfaction of performing the action or task. Intrinsic motivators include having fun, being interested and personal challenge.
Extrinsic: To perform an action or task in order to attain some sort of external reward, including money, power and good marks or grades.
Different people are motivated by different things and at different times in their lives. The same task may have more intrinsic motivators at certain times and more extrinsic motivators at others, and most tasks have a combination of the two types of motivation.[5]

Low self-motivation and the spiritual strength to turn things around. The limitations of self-motivation

The Resurrection" by Carl Heinrich Bloch.


The Christian author John Noe wrote in his book Peak Performance Principles For High Achievers:

Now in my own life, I go one step farther in setting my goals. I set what I call God-sized goals. A God sized goal is one that is so far outside your human capabilities that you will never reach it unless God intervenes on your behalf...

However, self-motivation theories eventually begin to cave under their own weight because there is only so far they can go. People begin begin to say, Oh no. Not another self-motivation speaker - we had one of those last year! Management circles, I've found are tired of the hype. the rah-rah pep talks, the glorified weather reports and the positive thinking. For many of them, self-motivation has lead to frustration. It's superficial in its effectiveness...

The basic building block of out of self-motivation is that there is only one person in the universe who is worthy , who has enough to offer, to become the center of our lives - Jesus Christ , God's son,. The goal is, then to become Christ-directed . Out-of-self motivation is based on the biblical principle of receiving a 'higher self' by surrendering our old selfish nature to Jesus Christ. Then and only then can we receive God's wisdom and power in our lives."[6]

  • "Most of all, I knew that God, my 'Guide of guides' had made it possible for me to accomplish this great feat. The greatest delusion in the world is that of the so-called 'self made" person. There is no such thing in high achievement." - Author John Noe on climbing on the Matterhorn mountain.[7] See: Peak Performance Principles For High Achievers by John R. Noe
  • "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." - Saint Paul, Philippians 4:13
  • “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” - Jesus Christ, Matthew 26:41
  • "Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned." - Jesus Christ (John 15: 4-16)


Fogg Motivation Model

McClelland's Need Theory

See also: McClelland's Need Theory indicates: "David McClelland, a 20th-century psychologist, theorized that humans are motivated by three possible needs: achievement, power, and affiliation. These 3 needs are based on one's life experiences and acquired over time. McClelland's theory of human motivation became known as McClelland's acquired needs theory. McClelland believed that these needs were acquired over time based on life experiences."[8]

Religious people, motivation and dopamine levels in the brain

See also: Atheism and motivation and Atheism and the brain

According to Scientific American: "Research also suggests that a religious brain exhibits higher levels of dopamine, a hormone associated with increased attention and motivation."[9] See also: Atheism and motivation and Atheism and the brain


Metamotivation is what motivates an individual and spurs an individual towards self-actualization and excellence.[10]

Motivational speaker and sales trainer Zig Ziglar on the temporary nature of motivational materials

“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing — that's why we recommend it daily.” - Zig Ziglar.

Journal articles

External links

Increasing motivation:



  1. How the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt mentally prepares for a race CNBC
  2. Derived from The Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary including Funk & Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary, 1966, The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. p. 884b-885a "motive".
  3. How will you measure your life?
  4. Stephen Meyer
  5. Self-Motivation
  6. Peak Performance Principles For High Achievers by John Noe, Chapter 2, pages 29, 30-31, 33
  7. Peak Performance Principles For High Achievers by John Noe, Chapter 1, page 24, 1984 edition
  8. Acquired Needs Theory | Need for Achievement, Power & Affiliation
  9. Ask the Brains, Scientific American, Dec 23, 2011
  10. APA college dictionary of psychology. (2009) Washington, DC: America Psychological Association. Pg. 241.