Three Components of Motivation

Motivation is the mental state where a person determines the interest, level of desire, and energy that they will translate into action.  It is centered on a person’s efforts to achieve a desired goal.  


Three Components of Motivation

Motivation can be divided and measured by direction, intensity, and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal.  These different components are needed to get and stay motivated.

The level of motivation varies between different individuals, circumstances surrounding them, and within each individual themselves at different times.  Even though levels vary, motivated individuals stay with a task long enough to achieve their goal.

The three components of motivation

  1. Direction = The target the effort is directed toward
  2. Intensity = How hard a person tries to achieve their goal
  3. Persistence = How long a person maintains their effort


About the Three Components of Motivation


Direction refers to the target or goal to which an individual focuses their efforts.  It is the first step in motivation because it determines where the person wants to ultimately end up.  For example, a person sets a goal to achieve weight loss, a trophy, or academic recognition. 

The direction of the motivation involves goals that give rise to action.  And that goal is determined by different influences including extrinsic and intrinsic factors.  



Intensity is how hard a person tries to reach their goal.  It represents the degree of energy an individual expends to accomplish their goal.  For example, a person may workout six days a week in order to run a marathon, or a student may load up on classes in order to graduate in three years. 

High levels of effort do not necessarily lead to the desired performance results unless the effort is channeled in a specific direction.  Hence, this is why a person chose the direction first. 



Persistence is how long a person maintains their effort towards achieving their goal even though obstacles may exist.  For example, a person may come across obstacles such as illness, lack of money, or lack of support but continues on despite these difficulties. 

In order to attain a goal, a person must be able to persist through obstacles and have the endurance to keep going in spite of difficulties faced.

Three Components of Motivation

  1. Direction is where an individual seeks to place their efforts. 
  2. Intensity is how much effort or energy a person puts into a particular task. 
  3. Persistence is how long an individual continues their effort to attain the desired outcome.



Maximizing Human Performance

Herzbergs Two Factor Theory

Dan Pinks Drive

Motivating People Internal Incentives

Performance Dynamics Steps

Checklist for Analyzing Performance

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