– the reason(s) one has for acting or behaving in a particular way
– the general desire or willingness of someone to do something
Motivation underpins our functionality as people. We wake up, attend to our daily routines, through habit, familiarity and comfort. We go to work, out of need, the fear of the consequences of not working, or the satisfaction of providing services or making things. We are (sometimes) motivated, for a set of complex and individual biochemical reasons, to learn specific things, but not other things. And we have shifting goals, in life, relationships, the attainment of “stuff”, health and leisure, that each comes attached to a set of motivations.
As we only know so much about how the mind works, so we only partially know how these goals form.
With optional and voluntary challenges, the study of motivation provide the primary understanding of why we undertake them. Why did I collect Panini football stickers as a child, and spend so much time trying to obtain the Brazil team badge sticker in particular? Why did some classmates try to attain the badge of school prefect (and was the badge and the prefect the same thing?) but others see it as a negative status? Why do I spend much of my leisure time playing one particular game as an adult?
What motivations are at play here, especially with learning and education, the desire to collect that out-of-reach badge, or complete that difficult game?