Chapter 3

What Does Lack of Motivation Mean?


We’ve established why you might be lacking motivation — now, we need to understand what that could mean for you.

Most of the time, feeling unmotivated is a direct result of feeling unsatisfied or discouraged. With a lack of motivation, nothing internal can make you want to do activities, whether they were pre-planned or not. When you have no motivation to do anything, you lack satisfaction, encouragement and personal drive.


What Is the Meaning of Lack of Motivation?


The dictionary meaning of “lack of motivation” is equivalent to having little to no desire or willingness to do something. Merriam-Webster’s official definition of motivation is a motivating force, stimulus or influence — also known as incentive or drive. At its core, the noun “motivate” means something that causes a person to act.


Knowing these definitions, we can see how lacking motivation means not having any internal force causing you to act or perform. At work and at home, a lack of motivation can lead you to sit around and be unproductive, with nothing to influence you or your behavior. That thought alone could be what you need to kickstart your personal motivation!


What Does Lack of Drive Mean?


A lack of drive means there is little reason for you to behave in a particular way. There are four suggested behavioral drives for every individual — acquire, defend, bond and learn. Without these personal driving factors, you could have no motivation to do your work and be the best employee you could be.



A quick overview of the four behavioral drives include:


  • Acquire — Immediate gratification and its associated status, determined by high versus average or below-average performance.
  • Defend — Becoming active due to a threat being triggered. This could be increasing performance because of poor feedback or talking to someone within a hostile work environment.
  • Bond — Working well with people who have similar interests, encouraging employee interaction and commitment to the company.
  • Learn —  The natural desire to understand yourself and the world around you, including within your job.


Personal drive in the workplace is crucial. Remember the discussion of intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors? Well, your work environment offers you plenty of extrinsic motivators naturally. Your personal drive, however, is what is going to motivate you to achieve the goals you and your company set.


For example, let’s say your employer announces an extended bonus for the employee who sets a new company record for number of sales completed. How awesome does that sound? You and all your co-workers get excited about the reward of extra money, as well as that glorified status of being the company’s best.


To meet that goal, you need personal drive to motivate you to do the work. You’ll want to acquire the cash bonus, to defend yourself against other salespeople, to bond with your customers as well as your employer and to make strong connections and close sales.


With a lack of drive, you won’t feel motivated to put forth the effort needed to make the most sales or to earn the extra money. Despite thinking the offer sounds appealing, a lack of drive means there is no motivation for you to get there.



What Happened to Your Motivation?


While there are internal and external motivators in all our lives, the nonexistence of external factors could create a lack of inspiration. Think about it — without the opportunity for you to obtain or work toward something, why would you have any motivation to get there?


A lack of motivation can stem from many instances, especially within the workplace. Perhaps your latest project came with very little detail or direction. Instead of having everything in place necessary for you to excel and succeed, you hit a roadblock — a definitive factor for ceasing motivation!


Just a little bit of resistance is all it takes for your motivation to fall. You aren’t excited for the task at hand, you aren’t determined to move forward and you definitely would rather sit back than get going with the project.


With no motivation to do anything, life can quickly become dull, boring and even arduous for you. Regaining a desire and drive to move your life and actions forward can provide you with what you need to become motivated again.


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