Motivation for beginners

The magical word „motivation“

This magical word “motivation”: so easy to understand for my American and European colleagues, and so difficult for Russians and those from CIS countries. So, what does this “motivation” mean and why is it so important for your future career?

Somehow, the popular websites, at least in Russia, present motivation as some kind of magical force, which you need to find in the depth of your soul in order to do something – lose weight, go to work, get better grades etc. It seems to be independent from yourself, like the keys from your car, and you need to find it in order to use it.

All wrong.Motivation in case of your career, study, sport and many other activities is YOUR OWN deep understanding of the REASON, why you need to do something. This is not a push, not a punch, but the real reason why you need to do what you need to do.


You need to lose some weight. While you are looking for the motivation as a push from inside to go to the sport centre, the real motivation is your GOAL to fit in your favourite dress. You confuse the reason and the “magical instrument” and, as a result, sit and wait helpless, whether or not anything happens.

The main power of the real motivation lies in your self-discipline. Preparing for a language exam? Looking for a perfect job or internship abroad? Submitting your 55th application for a scholarship? This is your goal to have a better future that keeps your motivated (interested), but this is the self-discipline that keeps you going.

Motivation for your university and job application

As you now know the real meaning of the word “motivation” as many of my American and European colleagues would see it, it is not difficult to understand, what a university or an employer expect to see in your “Letter of Motivation”.

A Letter of Motivation should show not only your interest in a concrete position or a graduate study, but your concrete vision of why is this position/course important to you so much and how are you going to benefit from it. They want to see a line as it is:


Example: When deciding, whether you or another candidate will get a scholarship, one will consider:

  • Your past motivation (What did you do in this field? etc.)
  • Your present motivation (Is this the right time for you? Do you have specific goals? Do you know how to benefit from the study/job? Are your current skills important for this opportunity? etc.)
  • Your future motivation (Will you benefit from using the opportunity in 3-5 years? Will you stay on this way for a longer time? etc.)

Understanding your motivation to get a new job or to apply for a Master program is more than just saying: “It would be nice to have some time abroad!” or “I need to pay my bills somehow”. The employer of the 21st century wants a “motivated” employee, and a university needs a “motivated” student. You are expected to demonstrate the deep understanding of WHY do you need it and HOW are you going to benefit from it.

Why is understanding your own motivation so important for your career

Understanding of your own motivation gives you an understanding of your goals. It helps you to plan your achievements and to keep your eye on all potential benefits. It does not matter, whether your motivation includes more money, international experience, financial independence or anything else – the earlier you will understand the value of your goal, the better you will be able to plan resources for it and to the sooner you will get started.

Coming next:

  • Work & study abroad: defining your real goals. Internship? Work? Student exchange?
  • International career: understand your strengths – plan your way up.

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