11 Types of Motivation and How to Use Them


It is not easy to motivate yourself. It is significantly easier to lay back than it is to move forward. On top of that, we are all driven by different motivating factors. But not everyone lives a successful life by their own standards. So what are the secret sources of motivation?

2 Main Types of Motivation

The two main types of motivation are intrinsic and extrinsic motivation:

1. Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation represents the things that motivate you based on internal motivators. This type of motivation comes from within. Examples of this are self-improvement, learning new skills, or helping people out.

You can also motivate yourself based on a negative driver, like fear. For example, you might be learning new skills because you're afraid of losing your job. While the results are positive, you used a negative emotion to motivate yourself to take action.

Intrinsic motivation is highly sustainable because it usually focuses on the internal motivators you can control. You are able to use positive and negative emotions as drivers to motivate yourself.

2. Extrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation represents the motivation that comes from external rewards. Examples of this are money, praise, or gifts. Extrinsic motivation is commonly used in the world.

External motivators are used to incentivize performing a certain action. People might want to do put out good work to gain praise. Or people might move to a new company for a raise. People will often take action to get to certain extrinsic rewards.

Extrinsic motivation can also be negative. For example, you might be afraid to fail your job because you'll get fired. Therefore, you will perform your duties without fail in order to keep your job.

Now that we understand the two major categories of motivations, let's dive deeper to understand different types of internal and external motivation.

Internal Motivations

3. Competence

Competence motivation is also known as learning motivation. Competence motivation states that people are motivated by the process itself rather than the reward at the end. People who use learning motivation enjoy the act of learning and improving more than the destination itself.

You might be motivated to learn new skills in order to achieve your goals, get a promotion, or widen your skills. This is a powerful motivator and should be used in combination with other motivational strategies. Relevant skills are valuable because it raises your overall value.

4. Achievement

Achievement motivation is used to pursue and achieve specific goals. People who use achievement motivation are driven by the completion of the goal rather than the incentives attached to it. This is a powerful type of motivation that you can tie in to help accomplish your goals.

An example of achievement motivation can be running a marathon just to check that off your bucket list. Or aiming for a business goal to reach new plateaus. You might even aim to set a world record just to say that you did.

If you are the type of individual driving by achievement motivation, you are most likely highly self-motivated. You are motivated by the feeling of accomplishment of a job well done. You are happy with reaching new milestones.

5. Attitude

Attitude motivation is cultivated through a desire to change how you and other people feel. People who use attitude motivation use actions and interactions to make people around them feel better.

An example of this is cooking for others. You might cook for people because it makes people feel good, and that makes you feel good as well. You're driven to change their attitude.

Another example is a leader who fosters their people to be better. You get joy out of seeing people develop and succeed over time. You want to see that you are having an impact on the attitudes of the people around you.

6. Creativity

Creative motivation is the drive to express your creativity. When you are motivated to express yourself, you might create a product, write a screenplay, or start a business.

Creative motivation is a feeling that you have something to express and it needs to be out in the world. You might want to show off your work to the world. You might also present it as self-expression.

Creative expression can be used to innovate, create, and express ourselves. It is important for the creation of new things in the world. Creative motivation is used to create works that impact people's lives.

7. Physiological

Physiological motivation is the drive to pursue things on a primal level. An example of this is courtship, where you are pursuing someone out of love. Or going to eat lunch, because you are hungry.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs shows that we are motivated by basic needs like food to higher-level needs like self-actualization. These needs are innate and we are internally motivated to pursue them. It's useful for understanding the actions you perform and the actions of others.

External Motivations

8. Fear

Fear motivation is a form of motivation that uses negative consequences to drive behavior. Fear motivation drives us to avoid certain behaviors due to pain or consequences.

Fear motivation is used a lot in society. For example, if you break the law, you will get punished in court. Or if you do a bad job, you will be fired by your client. Fear motivation uses punishment and negative motivators to keep you productive towards specific ends.

While fear motivation may sound bad in theory, it can be used to achieve positive outcomes. For example, you might use the fear of embarrassment to get your body in shape for beach season. You can often use fear motivation to help you break bad habits and live the life you desire.

9. Social

Social motivation is also known as affiliation motivation. It boils down to belonging somewhere and gaining the acceptance of your peers. We all have a desire to connect with each other. Social motivation leads us to contribute to social groups.

Evolutionary psychology shows us that every human is motivated by social factors. It's not a bad thing to pursue new connections. It's also not a bad thing to find a group of people who love you and accept you.

However, finding the right group is the most important part. Joining the right groups will have massive positive effects while joining the wrong group could be extremely detrimental. Always choose the people around you carefully.

10. Incentive

Incentive motivation is a motivational factor where you are driven by the rewards of the goal. Instead of enjoying the journey, you want to enjoy the specific rewards at the end.

For example, if someone offers you $1000 to build their website, you might do it because you want the money and not because the new task makes you feel more fulfilled.

Incentive motivation can be used together with achievement motivation. For example, you could be building the website because you find the work fulfilling and you also want to get the rewards at the end.

These situations are a win-win because you are internally fulfilled and rewarded by external factors. It's a good idea to seek goals that align the achievement motivation with external financial incentives.

11. Power

Power motivation is a motivational factor where you are driven by having control of your life and the lives of others. People who are power motivated usually desire to influence the direction of their lives.

Power motivation can become scary when taken to extremes. Imagine a world where tyrants rule and they are seeking to control everyone and everything.

However, power motivation can be used positively when creating the life you want. It's not a bad thing to be in charge of your life and your actions.

Final Words

Motivation is a powerful thing. When you are intrinsically motivated, you are trying to earn internal rewards. When you are extrinsically motivated, you look for rewards coming from outside. Both can be used in tandem to create positive or negative outcomes. When it comes to your life, figure out what motivates you. Once you are able to align your motivation, you will be able to create outcomes that are favorable for you. Find what keeps you going and motivate yourself to pursue the outcomes you desire. You can do it!