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Motivation vs. Encouragement: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 31, 2024
Motivation is the internal drive that compels action, while encouragement is external support or affirmation that fosters someone's motivation or confidence.

Key Differences

Motivation is an internal psychological force that initiates, directs, and maintains behavior. Encouragement, however, is the act of giving support, confidence, or hope to someone else.
Motivation comes from within an individual, driven by personal desires and goals. Encouragement, on the other hand, is provided by others, often in the form of positive reinforcement or verbal support.
Motivation is the personal ambition that pushes an individual towards a goal. Encouragement acts as a catalyst, boosting someone's confidence and perseverance in pursuing their goals.
Motivation can be long-lasting and is often linked to deeper aspirations or values. Encouragement may provide a temporary boost but typically relies on continuous external input.
Motivation directly influences an individual's level of effort and persistence. Encouragement can enhance motivation, leading to improved performance and resilience.

Comparison Chart


Internal (personal desires, goals)
External (others’ support, affirmation)


Drives behavior and actions
Fosters motivation and confidence


Can be long-lasting and self-sustained
Often temporary, dependent on external input

Influence on Goal Pursuit

Directly propels towards goals
Assists by boosting confidence and persistence


Relies on others for provision

Motivation and Encouragement Definitions


Motivation is the desire to act in pursuit of goals.
Her motivation to become a doctor was inspired by her childhood experiences.


Encouragement is the act of giving support to someone.
The teacher's encouragement helped him improve his grades.


Motivation is a psychological stimulus for behavior.
His motivation for volunteering came from a desire to give back to the community.


Encouragement stimulates someone's development or progress.
The coach's encouragement played a key role in the team's success.


Motivation is an individual's aspiration to achieve something.
Her motivation to write a novel grew from her passion for storytelling.


Encouragement is expressing approval to inspire effort.
Their encouragement of her artistic talents led her to pursue a career in art.


Motivation explains the reasons behind actions.
His motivation for studying late was to ace the exam.


Encouragement involves boosting another's confidence.
Her encouragement was crucial in helping him overcome his fear of public speaking.


Motivation is a self-propelling force driving personal efforts.
Her motivation to learn new skills kept her engaged in continuous self-improvement.


Encouragement provides hope and optimism.
His words of encouragement gave her the optimism needed to face challenges.


The act or process of motivating
The coach's effective motivation of her players.


The act of encouraging.


The state of being encouraged.


What does encouragement mean?

Encouragement is offering support, confidence, or hope to someone.

Is motivation always positive?

Motivation can be positive or negative, depending on the underlying reasons and goals.

What is motivation?

Motivation is an individual's internal drive to achieve goals and fulfill desires.

Can encouragement come from oneself?

Typically, encouragement is provided by others, though self-encouragement is possible.

Is encouragement necessary for motivation?

While not necessary, encouragement can significantly bolster motivation.

How does motivation affect behavior?

Motivation directly influences an individual's actions and persistence towards goals.

How does motivation impact performance?

Strong motivation often leads to enhanced performance and effort in tasks.

Can external factors affect motivation?

Yes, external factors like rewards or recognition can influence motivation.

What are examples of motivation in daily life?

Pursuing a career, learning a skill, or exercising for health are examples of motivation.

How does encouragement benefit a person?

Encouragement boosts confidence, resilience, and willingness to persevere.

What forms can encouragement take?

Encouragement can be verbal praise, positive feedback, or supportive actions.

What's the role of a mentor in providing encouragement?

A mentor provides guidance, support, and encouragement in personal or professional growth.

Can too much motivation be harmful?

Excessive motivation can lead to burnout or unhealthy obsession.

What are the best ways to encourage someone?

Positive reinforcement, active listening, and showing genuine interest are effective ways.

How do self-motivation and external motivation differ?

Self-motivation comes from within, while external motivation is driven by outside factors.

Why is motivation important in the workplace?

Motivation is crucial for employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction.

Can encouragement lead to dependency?

Over-reliance on encouragement can sometimes lead to dependency, but balanced encouragement fosters independence.

How do goals relate to motivation?

Goals provide a direction and purpose for motivation.

Can motivation change over time?

Yes, motivation can evolve with changing interests, values, or circumstances.

How can a teacher encourage students?

Teachers can encourage students through positive feedback, recognizing efforts, and providing help.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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