Difference between Motivation and Stimulation


Possibly the main difference between the two words is that motivation can come from within, while stimulation always comes from outside.

When you are motivated, you really want to do something. Either because you, yourself, feel the need to do it, or because someone or something else inspires you to.

The word motivation can refer both to the feeling you feel inside and to the act of motivating somebody.The verb motivate means to give somebody reason to do something.

  • I didn’t complete the task, but it wasn’t for a lack of motivation. It was due to the lack of time.
  • My students think we only teach them useless stuff at school. They need some real motivation to keep learning.
  • Chris motivated his son to do better at school by giving him one dollar for every good grade he got.
  • What motivated you to give up your job?
  • We get a pay rise every year, which is really motivating.

Motivate also means to make somebody enthusiastic:

  • The coach motivated the team with a speech before the match.

On the other hand, when you are stimulated by something, you stop being inactive and start engaging in an activity. The verb stimulate means to incite activity or to cause somebody to be interested in doing something.

  • Toddlers need a lot of stimulation for a healthy mental development. They shouldn’t just watch TV all day.
  • Apart from physical attraction, intellectual stimulation is very important in a relationship.
  • Teenagers spend a lot of time on social media because they need constant stimulation.
  • The government is cutting taxes in a hope of stimulating the economy.
  • I was stimulated by the discussion with the CEO.

The noun stimulus (plural: stimuli) refers to a thing that incites activity:

  • In Pavlov’s experiments, the dogs responded to the stimulus of the bell.

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