Motivation is the drive that helps us pursue our dreams and goals. Whether we define it as a drive or a need, motivation is a condition inside us that desires a change, either in self or the environment. Many emotions fuel us with motivation: anger, happiness, scarcity, abundance, satisfaction, love, lust, etc. Motivation doesn’t only refer to the factors pertaining to different behaviours; it also involves those that direct and maintain these goal-directed actions.
There are two main types of motivations, positive and negative. While positive motivation is reward-based, negative motivation is pain-tolerating. It is easy for people not to see the subtle difference that immensely dictates the outcomes. Just because negative motivation is seemingly detrimental, you avoid it. Sometimes that kind of motivation is what you need.
What is positive motivation?
Positive motivation is the type of motivation where a person is rewarded for accomplishing a specific task or changing a particular behaviour. In the case of positive motivation, you are motivated by a reward that lies in the immediate or distant future. People usually don’t find any difficulty in doing things that result in immediate rewards. However, when it comes to rewards obtained by pursuing long-term goals, we find attaining them a Herculean task. It is the expectation of that reward and visualizing yourself when the reward motivates you.
However, it can be tough to maintain motivation when the rewards are so far away for long-term goals. This is why it is essential to break your long-term goals down into short-term actions. An immediate sense of accomplishment provides you a timely boost keeping you hungry and hopeful simultaneously.
What is negative motivation?
Negative motivation describes the unpleasantness or consequences someone experiences when they fail to complete a task correctly or cannot achieve their goals the way they wanted to. It is the motivational technique in which not the proud feeling after appreciation by the spectators motivates you. It is the fear of criticism by them that motivates you to rehearse well for a stage appearance. The concept of motivation involved attracting a person to behave in a particular manner because they perceived those actions as having positive outcomes. Negative motivation is the opposite concept.
Behaviour is motivated by anticipation or fear that an undesirable outcome will result from underperforming. Fear of failure is a powerful motivator, especially when that fear relates to your survival or for example, in the case of employees, their income. Negative motivation strategies focus on the consequences of not being up to the mark to meet goals instead of positive motivation, where the focus is on the benefits of superior performance.
Positive vs Negative Motivation
|POSITIVE MOTIVATION||NEGATIVE MOTIVATION|
|1.||When expecting rewards for success is your driving force, you excel on positive motivation.||When the fear of punishment for failure is the thrust, you strive for negative motivation.|
|2.||If you are positively motivated, your action will most likely have a positive outcome.||If you are negatively motivated, your action will have an undesirable negative outcome.|
|3.||positive motivation can develop self-confidence in oneself.||Negative motivation can have a self-damaging effect.|
|4.||Positive motivation will lead to a run for something.||When you are running from something, you are more likely to be negatively motivated.|
|5.||Internal Positive Motivation develops by tapping into your passion, talents, skills, and strengths, as well as self-validation or a burning desire.||Internal Negative Motivation is when you act to avoid pain or fear because you may want to do something to reduce your guilt and self-blame.|
|6.||Internal Positive Motivation leads to increased energy, sustainable joy, lasting success, and a sense of fulfilment.||Internal Negative Motivation may end up in a person feeling hopeless, helpless, and overwhelmed.|
|7.||Monetary benefits and financial security can fuel external Positive Motivation, along with titles and professional recognition, and other external gains and achievements.||External Negative Motivation is seeking the approval of others and avoiding rejection because you may feel fear of failure, fear of dismissal or rejection, or fear of judgment.|
|8.||External Positive Motivation can cause burnout, stress, anxiety, unfulfillment, etc.||External Negative Motivation can cause anxiety and disappointment. Even if you are successful in doing what you set out to do, you may think that it is not enough to impress those you want to prove wrong.|
|As a student, if your parents promise a new bike if you do well in your exams; thinking about a new bike as a reward motivates you positively.||If your parents say that they will cancel your vacation trip if you fail in your exams, the thought of losing on holidays induces fear and motivates you negatively.|
|If a person is a non-smoker, they may think that smoking is an extremely harmful and a reward-less activity.||However, to a smoker, it might be a useful way to get rid of their anxiety which can be considered a reward.|
|A person might be motivated to work-out and become fit because they are positively motivated to flaunt their body to others.||However, some other person is already fit and healthy but they are still force themselves to work out because they are scared of losing their fitness if they stop. Here they are negatively motivated to perform a task.|
Which one is better?
Motivation is motivation, whether it is negative or positive. Both do the same job, driving you to pursue your aspirations. The difference is quite subtle for most people that it is usually overlooked. The best way to delineate that fine line is by knowing what feelings you are dealing with. No matter what you choose, both are important in their unique way. After all, it takes a lot of practice to finally reach the point of mastering your own emotions so you can motivate yourself positively or negatively at will. When you know how to use rewards and punishments in the right way, it will seem as though reaching your goals is an inevitable outcome.
If you want a deeper understanding of what motivation is, check it out here.