Motivation is a broad concept that involves different aspects of human life. Every person has specific factors that drive them to achieve and meet both their personal and life goal. I want to dissect my aspect of motivation by reflecting on my life journey up to this point in time. Some factors were beyond my control, but the outcomes of others depended on my actions and decisions. Those decisions are what drive me, and there are underlying motivations and goals behind them.
First, I pursued a path that was highly motivated by financial gains. The route entailed securing a scholarship to undertake a degree in petroleum engineering and land a lucrative job in the petroleum industry. However, my desire to achieve that goal was shattered by my medical results that stated I am not medically fit to work in such an environment. The underlying medical condition was beyond my control and became an obstacle in achieving my goals. My situation at that time can be explained using intrinsic and extrinsic motivational theories.
The intrinsic motivational theory states that our motivation to achieve comes from within us and that our desires are what propels us towards that goal (Makki and Abid 2017, p.38). Essentially, the intrinsic theory of motivation states that factors beyond us, for instance, securing scholarship, drives us towards certain activities to gain external rewards, for instance, being employed in a petroleum industry (Makki and Abid 2017, p.38). My desire to work in the industry was driven by personal interests and the goals I had set in life. The medical results made me question myself, for instance, whether money was essential in life. I realized that might have been the case in the past but not now. However, I will not question its necessity, and how it links to my goals.
Later, I chose a path in information technology and computers. Even though I have extensive knowledge in that field, I was not very interested in it, but I pursued it as a means to an end. Maslow’s humanistic theory argues that human behaviour is motivated by needs, starting from the most critical and pressing need to the least important (Stoyanov 2017, p. 49). Equally, the primary desire was for my gadget to work in a particular way, and I achieved just enough knowledge to accomplish that without going in depth because I was not interested in that field. I understood that a degree in any information related field was a path with the least challenges.
According to McClelland’s theory of achievement, special circumstances may elicit a strong desire for accomplishment in individuals. Such a situation allows a person to achieve success through an effort to overcome intermediate levels of risks and difficulties (Miner 2015, 249). The theory also identifies three motivators within us, namely need for achievement, a need for power, and lastly a need for affiliation. The dominant motivator inside us is therefore what drives us. My dominant motivator is achievement; that is I take a risk to accomplish goals (Miner 2015, 249). I was determined to achieve my goals in life despite the challenges I had and I therefore put all my effort into the new path. I don’t belong to the natural path! Hence, since I did not face many obstacles, there was no motivation to complete that task. Furthermore, neither did I choose nor regrets pursuing that course.
The part of me that eventually won over the rest was my inquisitive nature. Though to a minimal extent I am motivated by money, I am also counter-intuitive to a considerable degree. My curiosity to learn human psychology and understand myself and others around me drove me to my current position. Behaviourist theorists state that people are motivated by what happens to them when they accomplish a particular task and such behaviour is seen, learned, and reinforced by reward or diminished by punishment (Miner 2015, p. 250). That is how I chose a degree in Psychology and moved from my past failures to my present achievement.
Teaching has granted me a sense of belonging and I am fulfilled when I make a student better than he or she was the previous day. That sense of accomplishment has finally granted me peace. Therefore, according to Maslow’s theory, I have attained the actualization stage, and I feel like I am at the top of the pyramid (Stoyanov 2017, p. 49). Being a positive influence in the past was a fulfilling experience and being a teacher is the ideal version of me that I envision. That sense of accomplishment has reinforced my desire to continue teaching, and that is behaviourists hold.
Going forward, I ask myself “Why did curiosity win?” and “Is it still winning?” Lastly, one specific thing never drives an individual forward all the time. On the contrary, a combination of motivators drives people. Motivation comes in different forms. I cannot isolate a particular aspect in my life that has motivated my actions for the factors are different and intertwined with each other.
Miner, J. B. (2015) Organizational behavior 1: Essential theories of motivation and leadership, Routledge. pp. 3-361
Makki, A. and Abid, M., (2017). Influence of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation on employee’s task performance. Studies in Asian Social Science, 4(1), pp.38-42.
Stoyanov, S. (2017) A theory of human motivation, Macat Library.