The Science of Motivation

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

-Lou Holtz

Motivation Determines What you Get

Since motivation determines what you do, you’re not going to be doing much without it. The information below shows the science of motivation;  how motivation works, and how to get it. Survival and achievement depend on a consistent flow of motivation, and the greatest individuals in history were able to maintain high degrees of motivation.

If you want something, you have to:

  1. Decide specifically and quantitatively what it is that you want.
  2. Get motivated.
  3. Take it.


What Exactly is Motivation?

Motivation is nothing more than a feature in your head that moves you to take action to achieve tasks and accomplish your goals. Psychologists William James and Sigmund Freud (these guys knew how to use their brain) spent years developing these theories about motivation – thankfully these summaries took less time:

William James’ Take on the Science of Motivation: “The Instinct Theory”

  1. The instinct is the innate ability to survive.
  2. Your genes hold the instincts that you are born with.
  3. Every creature will naturally display an innate ability to survive in whatever way its genes have been programmed.


Sigmund Freud’s Take on the Science of Motivation: “The Psychoanalytic Theory”

  1. Your emotions, thoughts, and actions revolve around Eros and Thanatos – The drives of Life and Death.
  2. So basically, everything you do is to promote your thriving survival – Eros, or to escape Death.
  3. These instincts are buried deep in your subconscious.


Motivation and Happiness

The following study took data from 3,000 individuals from sample groups in 79 countries. Data was taken from focus groups, questionnaires, and a compilation of research results.  The happiest individuals that participated in the study had 50% more motivation, not to mention a 50% higher productivity rate and 180% higher energy levels.*

So the question is: What came first? The chicken or the motivation?

If the combined studies of William James, Sigmund Freud, and Pryce Jones are correct, the emotions you have are results of a survival instinct you have, and more importantly, that motivation causes happiness, and is the result of it.

So understanding what makes you happy and doing those things will increase your motivation. Motivation operates like a snowball effect – the higher your motivation, the more you can get. Happiness is all it takes to spark that motivation, and often that happiness comes from an accomplishment.

So take action, get happy, and build your motivation.


Want some more motivation tips? Read this post: Get off Your Butt! 10 Tips to Regain Motivation


*Study conducted by CEO Pryce Jones