5 Types of Motivation

Have you ever wondered what makes certain people successful? Maybe you've looked at your CFO who gets to travel on a monthly basis and want to be there one day. Maybe you've looked at a girl from your high school who is more athletic than she ever has been. Maybe your fraternity brother has financed a home while you are eating hot dogs and ramen in the dark. What sets apart 62% of America from the other 38% is goal setting. Broken down further, only 8% of goal setters achieve their goals, meaning less than 5% of Americans get where they want to be in life. What separates them is several types of motivation.

If you set a goal that you want to achieve, motivation is crucial. What exactly is a motivation? Why is it important to stay motivated? What types of motivation exist? What can I do to get where I want to in life? The answer is simple, but the implementation is hard.

What is Motivation?

Motivation is the engine that drives performance. It is the key to unlocking the most productive version of yourself and powering you through the adversities faced in life to achieve whatever is important to you in life. It is what gets you out of bed before sunrise when you do not want to run in the rain. It helps you say no to cocktails which will leave you hung-over and bloated. It is the key to success, whatever that means for you. 

Motivation is meaningless without goals, however. For the best chance of success, set SMART goals. Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

Why is it Important to Stay Motivated?

​Image Source: Pixabay.com

Motivation is one of the most important driving factors in success, whether at home, at work or on the field. It drives you through the entire goal-setting process and without goals you float through life aimlessly.


Identifying a Goal

Whether you are motivated by intrinsic or extrinsic factors, the motivation to change something about your life allows you to set goals. If you are unhappy with an aspect in your life, such as excess weight, make a goal to reduce it. On the other hand, if you feel your life would improve with more exercise because it releases endorphins, set a goal to add incrementally more exercise into your daily life until you are satisfied. Whether you are removing something negative from your life, adding more of something or adding something new, set specific goals and your motivation will take you there.


Motivation allows you to prioritize your focus, energy, and dedication on the things that are truly important to you. Maybe you have friends who want to do different things like going to the bar, going to an Italian restaurant and going for a run on the beach. If you are motivated to lose weight, you will prioritize the events which will take you closer to your goal than those which will set you back or keep you from your goal.


Anyone can set a goal, but that is not enough to make it a reality. Various types of motivation make goals a reality because they drive you to take consistent, decisive, actionable steps towards achieving your goals while helping you sidestep temptation or overcome setbacks. We all feel lethargic or apathetic every so often. It is those who are truly motivated who push through this and continue to work towards their goals.

Overcoming Setbacks

Setbacks are a part of life. Don't let them become roadblocks. Amazingly, 94% of salespeople give up on a sale after asking for the fourth time. However, 60% of all sales are made after the fourth time asked. Because many salespeople lack the resilience to overcome setbacks, the top 6%, driven by various types of motivation, can enjoy commissions made off of 40% of all sales.

If you struggle with motivation when you hit a setback, don't give up. Reinforce your motivation. Try on your wedding dress. See how many inches or pounds you have lost already. Remember how your joints hurt, and you struggled to breathe while playing with your children. Whatever it is, just do it.

Staying the Course

Maybe it is easy to cut out the morning coffee from your local cafe, but the more important goal is weight loss. Motivation helps you remember the bottom line and keep you going even when things are tough. Maybe your weight loss has stalled. If you are motivated to fit into your wedding dress again, you will continue to take consistent, actionable steps towards achieving that goal.

5 Types of Motivation

​Image Source: Pixabay.com

There are different types of motivation in different settings. For example, types of motivation in the business environment include intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, achievement motivation, incentive motivation, fear motivation, power motivation, competence motivation, expectancy theory of motivation and equity theory of motivation. In education, motivation types are discussed more than theories and less than actionable advice. 

These are intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, the arousal theory of motivation, the equity theory of motivation and the expectancy theory of motivation. It is the theories behind the types of motivation which psychologists are interested in, and this is what we will be discussing today.


Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsically motivated people are driven within themselves to achieve their goals. If their goal is to lose weight, it does not matter if society finds them more attractive. They want to be healthier, happier, more active or able to experience more in life.

Extrinsic motivation is one of the most common types of motivation as it drives almost all of us. If you are extrinsically motivated to lose weight, you have a driving force outside yourself. Maybe you want to be alive to walk your daughter down the aisle. Maybe you want to go horseback riding or ride in a helicopter. Maybe you want your high school crush to find you attractive.

There is nothing inherently wrong with extrinsic motivation. It is not vain or shallow. Most of us are extrinsically motivated.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs discusses the steps humans need to take in life. They are as follows:

​Physiological needs

​- water, food, shelter, and sleep

​Safety and security

- security of income, salary, body, and employment. To have a good place to live, good health, financial aid, and permanent scholarship.

Belongingness and love

​- relationship with our family and friends, colleagues and team members.


​- status, promotions, respects, raises good grades and prizes.


​- the realization of potential and abilities.

Going by this, we all start out extrinsically motivated by the need for food, shelter, and water before other types of motivation can influence us in order to achieve all we want to accomplish in life.

Incentive and Fear Motivation

We are all familiar with the story of the carrot and the stick. For some, rewards, or carrots, are very powerful motivators. For others, the fear of consequences, or sticks, is a powerful type of motivation. You can use incentive motivation for any goal you have. In the example of weight loss if you lose eight inches from around your hips, you can go to Las Vegas. You can also use the fear of negative consequences to motivate you. If you do not lose weight, you may suffer from fatty liver disease or pancreatic cancer.

Achievement Motivation

Individuals driven by achievement motivation are driven to achieve existing goals and tackle new ones. Achievement motivations can be internal or external. If you are motivated by the feeling of accomplishment and achievement, you are likely intrinsically motivated. If you have a desire for positive feedback from superiors, peers, friends or family, you may be extrinsically motivated.

Growth Motivation

Growth motivation is a pure internal motivation. It drives people to grow as individuals through expanding knowledge of themselves and the outside world.

Power and Social Motivation

The motivation for power can be either a desire for autonomy in life or the desire to control things around us. Many are motivated to have control over the manner in which they live and the way their lives will manifest in the future. Often, power motivation is merely the desire to get people to do what we want when and how we want it done.

Social factors motivate many people. Some want to contribute and make a difference in the lives of other people. Others want to be accepted by a certain peer group or connect to an affiliate with a larger section of the population. Some people may appear to be socially motivated, gaining a connection with a group of people but they are really motivated by power. They are using charisma and other social skills to motivate people to get them to their goals.


​Image Source: Pixabay.com

Ask an educator, a psychologist and an entrepreneur about types of motivation, and you will get different answers from each. The importance is not what motivates you but that you are motivated. Motivation drives you to get where you want in life. In other words, motivation is the engine that powers you through setbacks, roadblocks, and adversity to achieve your goals. Goals should be SMART. To ensure your goals are both clear and within reach, make sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. 

Whether you are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, reward or fear motivated, driven by power or social motivation or motivated by growth or achievement, what matters is the end result. With the motivation to put in the necessary, consistent, actionable steps to reach your goals, you can accomplish anything. 

Speak Your Mind