“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” – Vince Lombardi

Little Boy with WingsMotivation, in its simplest form, is the desire to do something – anything. It can be small, like brushing your teeth, where the motivation is to have healthy teeth. It can be larger, like winning a game. It can be negative, like avoiding losing your job. Or it can be positive, like traveling around the world. Motivation is rooted in the desire of the basic human element of either avoiding pain or seeking pleasure.

The Why

Motivation explains behavior. It is the “why” we do something, anything. Motivation can be driven externally or internally. When too much external motivation occurs, it can destroy internal motivation. For example, when someone faces the threat of losing their job, they will go to great lengths to keep it.

Conversely, when too much internal motivation occurs, it can destroy external motivation. For example, the employee who never makes it to work on time.


There is a “push and pull” factor in motivation that is important to keep in balance (for both an organization as well as an individual), or else dissonance and conflict will result.

Inspiration is the influence that creates an idea or an act. Inspiration can create motivation. Inspiration can also be in opposition to motivation.

Inspired motivation is the activity of leadership, i.e. transformational leadership. It can take on a traditional role of inspiring a group to accomplish something. Or inspired motivation can take on a role of transformational leadership within oneself.

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” – Confucius

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