Motivation inspires people to be productive in both their private and work lives. People search for motivation in various places. But sometimes the search for motivation becomes a job of its own, and people simply forget why they needed motivation in the first place.

Do we really need motivation or is it just an excuse to procrastinate?

The answer to this question is not that simple. We have to go deeper into the meaning of motivation.

In psychology, there are two basic types of motivation that affect our daily activities - intrinsic and extrinsic. The names are suggestive of their meanings: They refer to the source of our motivation.

Extrinsic motivation

This type of motivation comes from a reward outside of ourselves. Money is the default example for extrinsic motivation. When we go to work, we usually think of our paycheck, and this is the thing that keeps us going through the day.

It is quite possible that most of us have extrinsic motivation deeply grounded. It can motivate us to work but not to make progress. So it can be a costly mistake if parents raise their children using extrinsic motivators.

Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation is, according to most psychologists, a better motivation since the source for motivation is within ourselves.

A classic example of intrinsic motivation is when we earnestly want to enter college so we study hard to get good grades.

The power of intrinsic motivation lies not only in the way we were brought up but also in the core of our beings. Making the shift to intrinsic from extrinsic motivation is not just possible but a desirable thing to do. Intrinsic motivation lasts longer and allows us to fulfill what we believe is our life's purpose.

However, the question remains: Is any kind of motivation still just a way to procrastinate?


Discipline is just as important as motivation, but it functions differently from motivation. Motivation can make us work in a matter of seconds while discipline is gained with years and years of practice. This claim supports the statement that motivation alone is indeed just an excuse to procrastinate because discipline plays such an important role.

Discipline is a matter of education combined with genetics, but the former does outweigh the latter. Discipline is certainly possible for anyone (regardless of age, genes, etc.) to grasp.

Motivation and discipline

So, how do motivation and discipline correspond?

Well, let's start with the fact that you need to have discipline to keep you going even after you lose motivation because motivation is temporary but discipline becomes permanent once acquired.

For example, let's say you want to start exercising every morning before going to your job. You get out of the bed with this decision in your head and start warm-up exercises that later turn into a cardio and muscle workout. However, most people would start exercising but then give up after a couple of days, claiming that they need to motivate themselves somehow. What they forget is that discipline needs as much practice as the exercise itself.

Therefore, to succeed at anything, try not to think about possible rewards. Instead, enjoy the sole process of striving towards your goal because only then will you know that the beauty of motivation is not found in the end-reward but in the effort that we spend to achieve the goal and reward.

To sum up, motivation is not a bad thing after all, especially if the motivating reward comes from the depth of your soul and not from somewhere externally. However, when you do something, it is important to also practice discipline. Instrinsic motivation combined with discipline is the perfect recipe for success.

If you focus on only one or the other, you will end up procrastinating, without a doubt.

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