Why is it easier for us to walk out to our car and drive across the town, just to go and visit a family member or a friend, but yet find it difficult, to walk across our house and place our clothes on the hamper, but rather drop them on the floor? Why do we have to send gifts, chocolates, flowers, to our friends and loved ones? The answer to this question shows how our emotions and motivations are strongly connected. On one hand, Gorman defined emotions as “a unique state of consciousness which may bring happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, disgust or fear; as differentiated from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.”
Emotions are the main controllers of the motivation in a person’s life. By understanding how people may feel in particular conditions can inform you on their reasons for particular actions. Take for example taking a walk to go see a friend, when you return, you’d rather drop your clothes on the clothes than taking them to the hamper. Why is this so? It is because we have an emotion, a feeling to go visit the friend or family and so we are motivated enough to drive across town for a visit, to fulfill the desire. Walking across our home just to put our dresses in a laundry basket may be done with different emotions, thus our actions will also be different. Going across a room to put our dresses in a hamper is a task towards which we may not have a strong desire, with the absence of motivation for it, we may simply just drop them on the floor. If on the contrary, there was a desire for those clothes to be washed immediately, so we can wear them again as soon as possible, then this desire will develop the necessary motivation in us, to walk across the room, to the laundry basket. Just we are all different, different people look at the same event, in different manners. Events are external circumstances, and they affect an individual’s emotional stat. Crying or smiling are responses to stimuli. Stimuli may occur as responses to internal or external factors, thinking something funny or thinking something sad. It is generally known that a person who smiles is happy, it is however unknown if the smile is just a reaction or if it is the smile that causes the happiness. By understanding emotional theories and their functioning in our subconscious, it helps us in managing our lives as well as understanding others. The very core of humanity, is hidden in our multifaceted personalities that result from our upbringing, experiences, genetics etc. Each individual is unique and therefore each of our emotions to each situation are unique as well. Shachter-Singer theory considers how emotions and arousal affect performance and human motivation. From this theory, we learn that various events first cause physiological arousal, then emotions. For example, someone walking down a dark sidewalk at midnight. Upon hearing footsteps, the person’s heart will start racing, breathing will increase faster, fearing danger. This first part is the arousal part, then follows the emotion which is fear, because this behavior is the sense of danger.
Motivation on another hand, can be defined as “the reason(s) that someone may have for behaving in a certain way”. In many, if not most cases, the reason is emotion. Even though the biggest influence of motivation is emotion, another major influence is also having a goal. Take for example, a friend who will like to shed some weight, and this friend sets a goal of watching what they eat and do more exercises. The motivation that this friend will have are the goals that your friend had set. It is true that some people argue that the goals are also linked to emotions since those goals were made from a particular desire, and desire is none other but an emotion. According to Gorman, there are four theories of motivation. Let us take a close look at them.
The first theory we’ll look at is the instinct theory. This theory stipulates that people are motivated and react or behave in a particular manner simple because they were programmed evolutionarily, to behave in that way. An example can be seen in animals, their seasonal migration. Although they have never really learn to do this, it is as a result of an inborn pattern of behavior. Another theory is the incentive theory. According to his theory, a person does something for external rewards. An example is an individual who goes to work every day so that at the end of the day He/She will be paid. The drive theory which is the third theory of motivation, stipulates that people perform different actions with the aim of reducing the tension or the stress, caused by unsatisfied needs. For example, someone will be motivated to eat something, to reduce the feeling of hunger. The arousal theory states instead, that people take different courses of actions to either increase or decrease their levels of arousal, so to maintain our arousal level at an optimum state. When someone feels that his/her levels of arousal is low, he/she may go out for a run or watch a movie, to increase arousal. With high arousal energies, such a person will look for ways to reduce it, by meditating or just sitting down quietly. The last theory of motivation we will look at is the humanistic theory. With a closer look, it is clear then, that motivation and emotion are strongly interlinked.
The strong relation that exists between motivation and emotion, is very obvious. The strongest aspect of a person’s motivation is always tied up with emotions, although this is a truth, the various theories of motivation seem more and more appealing to some people.