motivacao_pessoalHave you ever asked yourself why you do the activities you do? It may seem a purposeless question but my goal is to know this: do you know what motivates you?

Motivation is a topic at discussion very often in any team or company. In the agile world, it’s even part of the Agile Manifesto being the 5º principle, as we talked about here. As such an important issue, it’s already been the main focus of studies by various authors, including Jurgen Appelo. Jurgen was able to summarize 10 factors of intrinsic motivation tightly connected to the professional universe, but how about we look a little bit further?

The first time I read something about motivation was on a paper by Thomas Malone, on which he summarized 3 main factors that motivate people to participate in and develop some activity: money, love and glory. According to him, those were, until 2009, the 3 basic factors of motivation. People get motivated because they’re after some financial gain, or they get motivated to do something just because they enjoy it, or they get motivated because they want to be recognized by the job done

A little while later, I read another paper written by Mary Lou Maher, on which she added 5 more factors to Malone’s list: challenge, career, social, fun and duty. Until now we have 8 factors that intrinsically motivates people that, in the way I see it, go beyond the corporative world. I’m sure there are a lot more studies that propose many other factors of motivation, but I think these are already enough to make us stop and meditate on what, intrinsically, most motivates us to do our daily activities, whether personal or professional.

I think that, to make it simple, the 3 initial factors said by Malone may really be considerados the main factors of motivation because, in a certain way, they represent the other ones. And I also agree with Malone when he says that, lately, people get more excited about the “new” factors love and glory and less excited with the “old” factor money.

And, aparently, Jurgen Appelo also agrees. So, let’s check the 10 intrinsic desires he talks about and also what they mean. There they are:


1.    Acceptance: to know that people appreciate you and your work. 

2.    Curiosity: to always have what to research and always search for diferent things to incorporate in your work.

3.    Freedom: to not depend on other people to do your work.

4.    Goal: to know that your work is aligned with your life goal or that you’re working for a greater cause.

5.    Honor: to know that your personal values are reflected in your team.

6.    Mastery: to know that the work you do challenges your competence but is still within your abilities.

7.    Order: to have enough rules and policies for a stable enviroment to do your job.

8.    Power: to know that your opinion is going to be heard and that you can influence what happens around you.

9.    Relatedness: to have good social contacts with your co-workers.

10.  Status: to know that you have a good position and people recognize you for that.

It may not seem, but each one of these factors is extremely important to keep us motivated with what we do. And even more important is to be conscious of them and to know, between these 10 factors, which most motivate us and need more attention and care so that ourselves and our teams are always with the highest motivation possible. It is not an easy job, but you know… get motivated or die trying.

Back to initial question, I’ll ask you again: what about now? do you know what motivates you?

I ask you this again because when we’re motivated, we make the daily work better for us and for those around us. But how can we motivate ourselves and help others to be motivated if we don’t even know what motivates us? For that, my suggestion with this post is that we stop a little and try to analyze what motivates us. I’m sure that this reflection will bring good thing later on.