Motivation is a state of mind, with energy and enthusiasm. It drives humans to have an orientation to achieve the desired goals. Motivation pushes a person to a higher level of commitment and required more focus and attention. Hence, stagnation becomes less heavy and bored.

Historically, there have been many theories of human motivation and behavior to serve our understanding needs, which we will go through in this article.

Motivation is state of the mind.
Motivation is state of the mind.

Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow believes that people will be inspired by needs and integrity. This demand starts at the lowest level and continues to grow to the higher levels. Such needs include:

  • Psychological: in place of survival needs such as food, drink, and shelter
  • Safety: the need to be kept away from threats.
  • Social belongingness and love: the need for cooperation, affiliation, friendship and the way of social relations
  • Self-esteem: the need for respect and recognition
  • Self-actualization: opportunities for personal growth, learning, creativity, and job challenges.

A company leader needs to understand an individual’s needs to help them in meeting their needs. It is difficult for an employee who is making a living every day to think further stories with a hungry stomach. On the contrary, a person who wants to be recognized does not put much emphasis on the salary story in his or her agreement.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs


The needs pyramid does not just show the factors that motivate people to work, it sometimes shows the deeper aspects of society. Some people are born with different conditions than others, they will not have to step from the lowest level of the demand ladder. Some others, they need to go from scratch. So they need a supportive community system for themselves. Without it, the way up will become very difficult.

Because of unmet needs, they will become less motivated and feel defeated. Others are more determined, with some favorable conditions, to get what they want. They will become people who are highly motivated and inspire others.

Many things we can achieve in life thanks to motivation
Many things we can achieve in life thanks to motivation

Hierarchy of needs theory is applied in many fields, from psychology to economics, politics, and corporate governance. By defining the needs of each individual, administrators can enable their employees to grow, and develop the whole organization. This theory underpins many psychic theories as well as personality tests today, typically the OCEAN and MBTI models in human behavior.


However, there are still arguments about the theory. Can human beings with a lack of material factors or security be able to create great legacies and concern for others? Or does it actually have the 6th stage of the demand hierarchy? That it was before Maslow’s death that he revealed that our last need is transcendence.

Even so, science is still flourishing in terms of answers to us about people and motivation. We may not be sure where our motivation comes from, but we still have the chance to learn about it and live a life worth living.

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