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Rubens’ Blog: What Is Motivation?

Published on: 21 Dec, 2021
Updated on: 22 Dec, 2021

Rubens King works for Surrey Choices as an employment support specialist, helping people find work experience, volunteering and paid work. He also writes giving advice on mental health issues to tackle stigma and make conversations about mental health normal. Here, he gives examples how motivated we are to engage with certain behaviours.

A psychologist recently told me motivation is a higher function of the mind.

Motivation can mean so much to so many people, there is no right answer.

Motivation is completely subjective and can vary person to person.

There is a beauty of difference, individualism, and perspective.

Click here on more support with finding motivation and mental health more broadly or here for a new safe haven in the Guildford community or for more signposting visit

How motivation changes and it impacts behaviour:

Motivation can change based on opportunity, surroundings, and experience.

For example, someone may be more likely to go to the cinema if there is a cinema nearby to act on the desire to watch a recently released film.

This shows how opportunity, and a change of surroundings can influence behaviour.

However, if they had a few bad experiences or found it easier to put on Netflix at home, this new, more flexible experience may change behaviour. This is an example how experience can change our behaviour.

Another way motivation can change reflects effort expenditure. To consider a sport example, someone who is driven to swimming classes may discontinue to attend swimming classes if they are no longer being driven by someone else.

This is an interesting transition of situations because arguably, beforehand, the individual could use the time in the vehicle to focus on other responsibilities in life (like schoolwork or social life via social media) and then focus right away on swimming.

However, driving yourself may require more motivation, or, at least, more energy. Therefore, effort or a change of circumstances can change behaviour.

One other factor that influences motivation could be our perspective. For example, our hobbies. Playing with toys when we are young may be desirable, then, as we grow up, we start to become more independent and need more resources, or money to continue to have fun to the scale we want (or have been taught to want).

In other words, it is likely that the toys we used to play with are now replaced with more expensive pastimes like sports (training and membership fees), reading (books online or travelling instore), or watching TV (viewer subscriptions). Consequently, our perspective influences our motivation and behaviour.

So, opportunity, experience, effort, and perspective are a few factors that impact how motivated we are to engage with certain behaviours.

Motivation is such a fascinating topic. It is arguably, the topic of what gives meaning to people’s lives, which is a powerful sentiment. Please feel free to comment below, I would be keen to know what motivates you and what led you to your thought process.

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