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Incentive Theory and Motivation

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Motivation is one of the foremost driving forces of human nature. Its what puts us at the edge of every action and activity; it is the sole driving force that keeps us to moving forward in our journey to live and write our own story of life. It might seem philosophical in the beginning, and yet its motivation alone that wakes us up every day, keeps us alive every minute we exist, prompts us to complete our daily tasks and ultimately aim for a higher and a better of living. We have it inside of us and everybody is possessed with it. Indeed, several socio-political and economic issues and disasters that we observe often, can actually be very much related to a lack of motivation among people’s lives. Motivation can thus be equated as a synonym for ‘morale’.

Ever since the beginning of time, motivation has always been with us. Its what led our earliest ancestors to stay alive in spite of numerous hardships that existed back then, prompted them to ‘get the hunt in time’ and made sure that groups never faded away. Motivation has been the prime factor behind every individual we remember today! Einstein invented the theory of relativity and everything scientists have been able to know of the universe because he was motivated to discover things nobody had done so before, with passion and energy. Human civilisation is in itself a by-product of motivated spirits; the inherent thirst to keep moving forward that has allowed humans as a species to test the forces of time.

Motivation in our daily lives, and in our modern perspective is asimportant as it has been for the last 10 millennia. People seek motivation when it comes to their careers, lifestyles, spirituality or even personal and professional problems. Motivation ‘gurus’ exist all around us and modern lifestyles have given way to all new aspects regarding one’s motivation in all aspects of life.

In today’s world, as technology and scientific understanding behind several phenomena advances to deeper depths, a new understanding behind motivation has ringed interest among psychologists and economists, since the overall health of the economy depends on how motivated the population really is. This theory can be called as the Incentive Theory of Motivation that tries to explain motivation of people as being of a result of outside or extrinsic factors that lead people to achieve newer aspects in their personal and professional lives. The incentive theory of motivation is very related and to some extent, even borrows elements from other motivation theories that have preceded it.

This book will explain what the incentive theory really is, how it originated, how it relates to its cousin theories, and what implications it has in our modern understanding of people’s achievements and the drive that leads us to do things that provide us satisfaction and wellbeing. Although this is a topic is for the psychologists, its implications are vast and many, with economists referring to it often to design and formulate economic policies (since motivation is perhaps the prime factor in one’s profession). Lastly, ending notes and conclusions of how motivation is both a biological and psychological phenomenon will follow taking into account that every individual is affected by the ‘fight or flight’ system, an essential part that has decided every action and decision of ours since prehistoric times.


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Incentive Theory and Motivation