• Robert Smythe

5 Motivations for Work

Why do you work? Why should you drag yourself out of bed, get ready, and rush to your workplace (or your desk, if working from home)? Why not watch Netflix movies all day or talk to friends on the phone? What’s the point of it all?


The reason most people work is simple: to earn a living. But we all know that making money is not the only reason for work. Money is a motivator for work, but humans are more complex than that. Let’s look at five motivations that help you to want to work.


First, work because you are born to work.

You are wired to work. There is something in our DNA that drives us to use time and resources to accomplish an end-result that makes us feel a sense of achievement. Think of toddlers who have just learned to walk and the excitement they have in playing and exploring. Think of young kids who love to express themselves through art and music and asking questions. Where does this drive come from? Answer: it’s from within each one of us. We were designed to work, to create, to express, and to be fruitful.


Second, work because there is a purpose to work.

There are two ways to look at it. In the first place, many find their sense of fulfilment through the work that they are already doing. It gives them meaning in life and a sense of purpose. On the other hand, many begin with their calling or purpose in life and, then, they choose a particular work or field. In either case, whether you begin with calling and, as a result, choose a particular field of work, or you begin with your work and find your calling in the process, there is purpose in the work that you do. Be it a mom who takes care of her family, a scientist who spends long hours in research, a soldier who serves his nation or a musician who composes a new piece. A sense of purpose is key for sustaining any work in the long run.


Third, work because you are a social being.

We are interconnected social beings held together in this web of humanity. Almost all work is directly or indirectly connected to the wellbeing of another human being. Think of the work that you put in at home or your workplace and the number of people that are impacted by it. Think of the food that you just ate. Almost everything that you consumed on your plate was the labour of unseen farmers in far off fields. You have been blessed by their work. Work is good because it helps us contribute to the common good of all humanity.


Fourth, work because you are a creative being.

From the time we are born we are experimenting with creativity. From toddlers to programmers, infants to doctors, teens to architects, we are constantly looking to find solutions for life’s problems using our skills, resources and creativity. Most work offers avenues to be innovative and to come up with unconventional solutions. Even mundane office work can be made interesting by splashing it with a dash of creativity. We work because we are born creative.


Finally, work to maintain a healthy standard of living.

This motivation may be the most obvious incentive for work, but it need not be the only motivator to get up from bed every morning. Having said that, we all have bills to pay, bucket lists to achieve and dreams that money can buy. And so, we need to get paid. Through work we offer our skills, time, and human resources for a fee so that we ourselves can invest in others who do the same for us. Enjoying the fruit of hard labour is a good thing.


Keep these five motivations in mind the next time you struggle to get up in the morning. Work is intrinsic to who you are as a human, it has purpose, it contributes to society, it helps you express your creativity, and it provides for your needs. Remember, your work is worth it. So keep up the good work!


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