As a driver for behavioural responses, motivation can take many forms. As mentioned previously, a natural instinct to eat when food is available is something all animals will do, but we are even more motivated to do so when we are hungry. In this sense, the hunger itself is the motive to do something – to eat – that will help us to survive or gain strength. Other such motives include sexual desire which motivates us to reproduce. There again, people will often feel motivated by nest-building instincts because of the desire to look after those around them. In other words, being motivated is not always about self-preservation or self-betterment, especially in human societies which are highly social in their nature.
That said, although there are some fundamental motives that everyone feels to some extent – such as hunger or thirst, for example – people's sense of motivation differs. What might motivate you in the morning to get up and get going may not be the same thing that drives your partner, your friend or your neighbour. In order to motivate yourself or those around you, therefore, you need to find out what works and, perhaps more importantly, what does not. Otherwise, you will end up with some wishy-washy incentives that don't really work to provide true motivation.
Yes, there are a number of psychological and behavioural theories that surround the way we motivate one another, but it will often come down to trial and error with individuals you encounter if you want to motivate them. Empathy
is a very helpful trait to have if you want to motivate others because it will help you to work out what is motivating them even if they have not fully identified it themselves yet. Managers and coaches without empathy tend to not perform as well with larger groups of people and will only end up working with individuals who have a similar mindset as one another.