Why you don’t need motivation

What association do you have with a word ‘motivation’? When I think about motivation, the picture of a dog performing a trick for a treat appears in my mind. The same with people, adults behave themselves as dogs waiting for a reward.


Have you ever thought about motivation as a negative term? Motivation seems to be beneficial asset that makes us act. In this post, I claim that people do not need a motivation. Moreover, I will try to convince you that motivation can be even harmful for an individual.

At the first onset, I would like to note that in this post the intrinsic motivation is not being discussed, which is motivation coming from inside, or in other words, when you do something in accordance with your personal will and feelings. My focus is on extrinsic motivation that comes outside. External motivators can be money, recognition, grades or punishment. These motivators are widely used at schools and workplaces. And the approach which uses reward and punishment motivators is called “carrot and stick”, where carrot stands for a profit and stick is for a sanction.

“Carrot and stick” method can be very beneficial in terms of achieving results, but can be very destructive for an individual and work itself. People by being motivated by “carrot and stick” are not happy, since the work can be done under the pressure or fear of being punished, or person does not enjoy the process of work since his or her only concern is to get a reward. In both cases, the quality of work suffers. Also, we see this situation every day, when adults justify their unproductivity or just laziness by a lack of motivation, which needs to be introduced by outer world. So some people are not ready to make decisions and take actions by themselves, but wait for a ‘treat’ from their surrounding, boss or government, forgetting that, first of all, people themselves are architects of their own fortunes. Thus grown-ups should stop behaving as kids and be responsible for their lives.

What do you think about being motivated by external factors? What kind of motivation does work with you well?

Photo credits: http://www.willettink.co.uk/LGC%20web/pages/Carrot%20%26%20stick.html


5 thoughts on “Why you don’t need motivation

  1. Thank you for your great post, Aidana! Very enlightening, I must say. It is always good to consider the matter from both perspectives:positive and negative. I completely agree with you that people tend to find many justifications for their unproductivity and mostly refer to a lack of motivation. However, I would not then consider extrinsic motivation as motivation at all. For me, there is only one type motivation, and it is intrinsic. I understand motivation as following: you are fully engaged in something, you are excited about it and surely, you enjoy it. But, if we say, you hate your job, but you work only to pick up a paycheck every month, than you are not motivated at all. You just comply with the rules.
    I also do wonder. If you do something that you love, and still get paid for it-would it turn it to a job? Or should you be resistant to make money by doing what you love? Would it affecr the quality of your work?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I support the point of @akalya77 saying that motivation is like stimulus and inspiration. Adults are mature and can feel when they controlled by someone or they do it by their will. However, I am glad that @aidana17 rised this question because most of adults think that they can not manage their life and they need the motivation from others. It’s the phenomena of current life!


  2. Thank you, @ aidana17, for sharing your views. But I think you are being unfair toward extrinsic motivation. First, consider procrastination, a wide-spread condition affecting most of the student population worldwide )). If extrinsic motivation were abolished, most young people would never get their degrees for failing to complete anything. For most of us, procrastinators, deadlines and fear of a low grade is the main reason for sitting down to work on the assignment, which later in the process often turns out to be an enjoyable experience.

    Second, I tend to think that intrinsic motivation might be grossly overrated. Your inner calling is often a poor judge when it comes to choosing a career. Just how many actors and artists does the world need? Not as many as flocks of aspiring film and TV stars, aka waiters, in Los Angeles would like to think. Intrinsic motivation has become glamorised lately, while historically it never was important: a hundred years ago work was something you did to provide food for yourself and your family, not indulge yourself with.

    Besides, it is bad for the society in general. Do you know anyone who could be intrinsically motivated to become a cleaner or a supermarket cashier? Yet, there are plenty of extrinsic motives for doing such jobs, e.g. salary, the feeling of being useful, praise, satisfaction with well-done work, meeting new people, and chatting with colleagues. You can be motivated solely by extrinsic factors and yet be happy, unless you absolutely hate your job of course.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Aidana, this post is a great conversational piece. It touches a personal, yet highly important and global topic. The only recommendation I would have is to add in a level of detail and analytical or theoretical sources. Can you show us some examples of these issues in practice? Are there any useful studies that would convince us of your view? (4.5/5)


  4. Thank you for your post!
    Carrot and Stick method of motivation
    elicits desired behaviors of people. People get promotion, money, and other benefits. Why not?! It is clear that the carrot is a reward for working hard while the stick is the punishment for not working hard and that is why this method makes people work, move. I guess that people should be given a carrot if they perform efficiently and clearly should be punshed in case of non-performance.
    For instance, I always remeber when my boss told me that your hard work would be rewarded and if you not working hard you would be punished. The punishment was in the form of diduction from our salary up to 10 %. It made me as well as my colleagues to work better and never be late. We were not allowed to be late to work. It definitely looks like the method of Carrot and Stick….


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