What makes us motivated to do certain things? Here are some theories of motivation:

  1. Innate Motivation: Instinct Theory: Some things we do without really thinking about it. It is a form of motivation we have no control over. It just happens because it’s in our human nature. For example, when a baby cries when it’s hungry, it cries due to this innate motivation. Certain reflexes, usually those that promote survival or self-protection, are also due to instinct. When we jerk our arm away from a burning hot plate, we do this by innate motivation too.
  2. Survival Theory: Linked to Innate motivation, is survival motivation, whereby we are motivated to seek out the best oppotunities for ourselves to improve our chances of survival, and of the survival of our children. Psychoanalytic
    theory therefore argues that we go to school because
    it will help assure our survival in terms of
    improved finances, more money for healthcare, or
    even an improved ability to find a spouse.  We
    move to better school districts to improve our children’s
    ability to survive and continue our family
    tree.   We demand safety in our cars,
    toys, and in our homes.  We want criminal
    locked away, and we want to be protected against
    poisons, terrorists, and any thing else that could
    lead to our destruction.  According to this
    theory, everything we do, everything we are can be
    traced back to the two basic drives

  3. Motivation by Being Conscious of Internal feelings of Tension: Drive Reduction Theory: Internal feelings such as hunger or thirst for example, motivate us to try and rectify the situation by seeking out food or drink. There is a motivation here to reduce the inner needs, to reduce the tension and restore inner calm
  4. Motivated by a Need for Arousal: Arousal Theory: Humans have a drive to maintain a certain level of emotional/ intellectual/ physical arousal to feel good and comfortable. This theory explains why people climb mountains, go to school, or watch sad movies.
  5. Motivated by a need to fulfil your maximum potential: Humanistic Theory: This theory states that humans are driven to acheive their maximum potential and will do so, unless hindered by obstacles (eg financial limitations, other needs lower down on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs have to be met, like a drive for food/ survival that take front seat). At the peak of the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs is Self-Actualization. According
    to Maslow, nobody has ever reached the peak of his
    Self-actualization means a
    complete understanding of who you are, a sense of
    completeness, of being the best person you could
    possibly be.  To have achieved this goal is to
    stop living, for what is there to strive for if you
    have learned everything about yourself, if you have
    experienced all that you can, and if there is no way
    left for you to grow emotionally, intellectually, or



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