the act of deciding definitely and firmly (MWD)


the condition of being motivated (MWD)


something (such as a need or desire) that causes a person to act (MWD)

Are they the same thing? Two sides of the same coin?

Some examples of situations I can't differentiate between:

  1. The want/desire to win a competition.
  2. The want/desire to achieve a task or goal.

How do you differentiate between motivation and determination to have or win something? It is very hard to describe the feelings in words. How does it feel when you are motivated or determined?

  • Determination is the drive to use motivation for reaching a goal. Jul 28, 2017 at 14:28
  • Is it just that simple?
    – Crazy
    Jul 28, 2017 at 14:48
  • 1
    Motivation is more of a want. Determination is more of a need. "His weight loss story has motivated me to lose weight." vs "My family's well-being fuels my determination to succeed in my career." Motivation gets you started but determination keeps you going.
    – Hank
    Jul 28, 2017 at 14:56
  • 1
    Can you illustrate what actually confuses you and add what you think? As it stands now, the question is prone to being deleted for lack of clarity.
    – Hank
    Jul 28, 2017 at 15:02
  • 1
    Motivation is the desire. Determination is the willingness to do what it takes to succeed. Motivation is the reason for the determination.
    – fixer1234
    Jul 28, 2017 at 22:08

4 Answers 4


Motivation = a want

"His weight loss story has motivated me to lose weight."

Determination = a need

"My family's well-being fuels my determination to succeed in my career."

Motivation gives you a jump start but determination keeps you going.

When it comes to the specified situations, it will all depend on whether you want to win/achieve something or need to win/achieve it.

(Source that supports my ideas)


Motivation=motion/movement. The spark that turns an idea into action. Determination=ultimately, it's what level of effort or sacrifice you will commit to make the thing happen. put the word 'grim' in front of it :)


Motivation is akin to the blind push from behind.Determination is goal-directed intentionality in relation to a future state

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to EL&U. This would benefit from an attribution and further explanation. Please see the FAQ and site tour,
    – livresque
    Mar 28, 2021 at 1:46

The key difference here is intentionality.

Motivation has intentionality. For example, we talk about a motivating narrative, story or rationale and these intend something.

Determination is about keeping to a certain course without speaking of what that course is directed towards. For example:

He was determined to do it.

Often they go together and since sense and meaning in sentences do not always have clear boundaries in terms of the words that are used to construct sentences, their meanings support and butress each other.

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