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Motivation Matters: Exploring Its Impact on Achieving Success

May 16, 2024

Success in personal, professional, or academic areas relies on several factors.  A key factor in this is often motivation. It encourages us to strive for our goals in life. Motivation is a complex aspect of human psychology.

Knowing the psychology behind motivation isn't just for education - it's essential for anyone looking to tap into their inner motivation and reach their full potential. Whether you're starting a business or a student aiming for top grades, motivation plays a key role in shaping your actions and results.

Our guide can help you learn more about motivation and its link to long-term success. Just keep reading. 

What is motivation?

Motivation is what makes us do things, make decisions, and act in specific ways. It helps us stay on track, moving closer to our dreams and keeping our hopes alive. To really understand motivation, we need to delve into its inner workings. This involves studying the ideas and systems that explain why people behave the way they do.

Motivation is essentially what gets us started, keeps us on track, and drives us to reach our goals. It's not just about the initial push, but also about the determination and hard work needed to see things through.

Here are three theories about motivation:

Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory

Maslow's hierarchy of needs says that people have different needs that drive them. It begins with simple needs such as food and a place to live, and goes all the way up to more complex needs like achieving personal goals and reaching beyond oneself.

As we satisfy our basic needs, we start to focus on more advanced needs, always looking for ways to grow and be happy.

Self-determination theory (SDT)

The self-determination theory tells us how important it is to be motivated from within ourselves. It means that we have a natural desire to do things just because we enjoy them. This theory also says that we need to feel like we have control over what we do, that we are good at it, and that we have connections with others in order to stay motivated.

When people believe they are in charge of what they do, able to do tasks well, and have good relationships with others, they tend to be more motivated from within and join in activities with excitement.

Expectancy theory

The expectancy theory says that if you believe your hard work will lead to good results, you'll be more excited and motivated to put in the effort. It's like knowing that the more you take care of your garden, the more it will bloom, and that makes you want to garden even more! 

It tells us that we feel more motivated when we think our hard work will lead to good things and when we believe in ourselves to make those good things happen.

The true science behind motivation

Motivation is closely connected to the brain's reward system, specifically the release of dopamine in anticipation of rewards. This chemical in our brain prepares us for action and pushes us towards achieving our goals. Nevertheless, motivation is not the same for everyone. This is because our unique brain chemistry and life experiences influence our motivational desires.

For example, when we establish a goal, such as finishing a task or hitting a fitness target, just the thought of accomplishing it can lead to dopamine release. This boosts our drive to strive for success.

External rewards may also kickstart motivation, but intrinsic motivation fueled by personal values and interests is just as important for long-term dedication. Knowing this helps us boost motivation by creating meaningful goals, giving autonomy, and aligning tasks with our values.

3 types of motivation and their impacts on your mental health

Different forms of motivation impact how people tackle tasks and goals. Knowing these types of motivation can help us understand our driving forces and use them to grow personally and professionally:

Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation is when you do something because you really like it, not because you want to get something in return. It's all about feeling happy and satisfied while doing the activity, because you are personally interested and enjoy it, not because someone else is telling you to do it.

For example, let's imagine someone who really loves painting. They spend so much time on it, not caring about what others think or getting compliments, but just because they truly enjoy creating something beautiful. Their motivation comes from within, fueled by their passion for art and the happiness they feel when their artwork comes alive.

Extrinsic motivation

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is when you participate in something to receive rewards from outside sources or to steer clear of consequences. This kind of motivation stems from external factors like money, compliments, acknowledgment, or social acceptance.

For example, think about a student who puts in a lot of effort to get good grades and receive praise from their parents or teachers. Even if they don't particularly enjoy studying, the idea of getting a reward or the fear of failing pushes them to work hard and accomplish their academic goals.


Amotivation is when you just don't feel motivated or care about a task or goal. People who are amotivated might feel disconnected, uninterested, or swamped by the obstacles they face. This can result in a lack of drive or willingness to put in any effort because they’re burnt out.

For example, a person who is feeling swamped with their work responsibilities might have a hard time finding the drive to succeed or seek out chances for growth. They might see their efforts as pointless or insignificant, leading to a feeling of being powerless or giving up.

Using motivation to achieve success in your life

Motivation pushes us towards our goals, yet mastering it can often feel intimidating. However, by using the appropriate techniques, you can increase your motivation and make your dreams a reality.

Here are ways you can use motivation to achieve success:

  • Cultivate self-efficiency: The key to staying motivated is having confidence in yourself, also known as self-efficacy. Set achievable goals that match your skills and passions, break them into smaller steps, and celebrate every milestone. 

  • Build resilience: Facing challenges and setbacks is a common part of the journey to success. It's essential to develop resilience to stay motivated and push through tough times. Instead of seeing failure as a defeat, use it as a chance to learn and grow. 

  • Use the power of positive thinking: Your mind is a powerful weapon - it can either boost your drive or crush it completely. Nurture a positive outlook for your happiness by concentrating on your achievements, strengths, and steps taken towards your objectives. 

  • Practice self-talk: Your self-talk impacts your motivation and confidence. Monitor your internal dialogue and combat negativity with logic and positivity. Focus on your strengths, accomplishments, and progress towards your goals. This means creating a supportive inner voice to boost confidence and determination.

Motivation in practice

Motivation is not just something we talk about. It's actually something we can use to help us reach our goals and make our dreams come true. Here's how you can use motivation to make things happen:

Strategies for maintaining motivation over the long term

Breaking down your goals into smaller tasks can help you stay motivated in the long run, even when things get challenging. It's all about focusing on those little wins to keep that motivation going strong.

Having a strong support system of people who believe in you and your dreams can also make a big difference. Surrounding yourself with friends, family, or mentors who are there to cheer you on and keep you accountable can really help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.

Creating a supportive environment for motivation

The things around you can really affect how motivated you are. It's essential to make a workspace that helps you stay focused and creative. You could clean up your desk, put up some fun decorations, or even play some music that helps you concentrate.

Also, make an effort to reduce any interruptions that could throw off your drive. This could involve cutting down on social media usage, establishing limits with colleagues or relatives, or discovering techniques to handle stress and anxiety.

Overcoming common obstacles to motivation

Dealing with challenges is a part of life that everyone goes through, even if they are very determined. The key is to be ready for these obstacles and figure out how to beat them.

For instance, if you often delay doing things, you can break your tasks into smaller, easier parts and set deadlines for each part. And if you start doubting yourself, you can say positive things to yourself and think about all the things you have achieved in the past.

It's also essential to develop resilience when dealing with failure. This means looking at obstacles as chances to improve and learn. With a growth mindset, you'll be able to come back from challenges even stronger and more determined. 


Now you know that motivation is a complex process that helps people to achieve their goals. It's the energy that pushes us towards what is important to us. You can experience your true inner determination by understanding its psychology and applying effective strategies to your daily life. All you need to do is embrace motivation, establish purposeful goals, and witness how your potential turns into real accomplishments.

Want to learn more about motivation and how it works for you? Check out our OPA resources based on psychology or contact us today for more psychological insights.