Word-Of-the-Week #755: Motive

January 24, 2019 by  

Motive – a desire, interest, or drive that spurs you to take action.

Did you get any clearer on intentions you’d like see happen this year? What are your desires or interests? Have you had any impulses that spurred you to action?

This week features excerpts from the Khan Academy. “Motives come from your needs. You need to eat to survive, you need to brush your teeth to keep them healthy, and you need to work to earn money to be able to buy food and pay your rent.  

Needs can come in many different forms – some needs are more emotional, like the desire to do well on an exam, and some are biological, like the need to drink a glass of water when you’re thirsty. Your needs may change throughout your lifespan – your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, environment, culture, and social relationships all come into play as you decide what you need at a particular moment in time.  

If your needs are not met, you might feel like you’ve lost your purpose or like something is missing from your life. When you feel that way, you may try to fill the gap in your life and fulfill your needs. For example, if one of your needs is to go to medical school, you will be motivated to take biology and chemistry classes, study hard, earn good grades, and fill out applications to schools that you like. If you’re accepted into medical school, you will have successfully fulfilled your need (and will feel great!), but you’ll also probably have a new need – to graduate from medical school! If you aren’t accepted then you’ll still feel like something is missing, and you’ll either keep trying to achieve your goal and apply to programs again, or you may decide that a different career would be better for you and choose a new goal to work towards.

The three types of needs that we experience are: 

  • Physiological needs are innate, biological, and must be met in order for you to survive. 
  • Psychological needs are based on your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, expectations, and self-image. Psychological needs are important for your mental health and happiness, and to create balance and harmony in your mind.
  • Learned needs are needs that come from your experiences and are heavily influenced by things that happen to you throughout your life. You learn to want things like praise, money, success, and pleasure. 

Where your motives come from: 

  • Intrinsic motives are based on internal factors like what you like to do and things that make you happy. For example, Joe works for a snowboard company because he loves snowboarding and is happiest when he is on the slopes.
  • Extrinsic motives are based on external factors like money, rewards, obligations, or approval. For example, Joe sells a specific number of snowboards each year because he needs to make money and wants to earn rewards from his job. 

Motive is the inducement to take action. Intent is the mental resolution or determination to do it.

This week’s focus is on your motive.  What are the things you like to do and that make you happy? Would you like more approval or a job with better pay? The clearer you get the easier it will be to take the actions needed!

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