Motivation is defined as the need or desire that energizes behavior and drives it towards a goal. However it is not that simple, there are many perspectives on how personal motivation works. Three of these theories are the hierarchy of needs, drive-reduction theory, and optimum arousal. These three ideas attempt to explain why we are energized to do what we do.
Abraham Maslow organized our needs in a pyramid by how important they are to us. At the base of the pyramid are our physiological needs Next is our need to feel safe in our environment, and then our desire for belongingness and love. Esteem needs, self-actualization, and self-transcendence follow these, respectively. Without satisfying the need below another need, you cannot satisfy the above need. For example, a starving person cares little about their safety, and even less about love.
Drive-reduction theory states that our motivations are energized by the desire to maintain homeostasis. This means that we motivated in order to reduce need for certain things, and to maintain a stable body and mind. Also accompanying this theory is the influence incentives have on us. Incentives are stimuli that we are motivated towards or away from. This could be a cash reward for good grades, or a decrease in huger when an undesirable food is smelt.
Another motivational perspective is the theory of optimum arousal. This indicates that some motivated behaviors increase arousal, and that arousal is what we are motivated towards. To do this we will search for knowledge or increase activity. This can explain why philosophers search for knowledge, or why an infant explores their home. However if we become over stimulated we become stressed and desire relaxation, which motivates us away from activity and towards the couch.
I feel that optimum arousal explains my motivation best. Though I do enjoy incentives and believe in Maslow’s Hierarchy, I feel I am most influenced by my search for...