Motivation is an individual's desire or enthusiasm for a particular goal. For instance, if Jane asks John to run down to the market to get their groceries, the achievement of that particular goal set by Jane for John is highly dependent on how motivated John is to accomplish that fact. If John perceives the task of going for groceries to be inconvenient, chances are he will be demotivated to take on the chore and it won't get done.
Even if John decides to get the groceries, he may do so with much delay and with no enthusiasm that he may not do a very good job of picking up the groceries. Despite this though, if the fear of acquiring Jane's wrath is stronger than John's perceived inconvenience for actually taking on the task then chances are, John will be highly motivated to accomplish the task and he will do so with the right competence. Whatever the case may be, you will realize from this simple example that motivation is a temporal state of mind and is absolutely not a character trait.
An individual's motivation toward something is always a result of a complex decision making procedure that can take only a split second for our minds to process. Although you will hear people refer to some people as highly motivated individuals as compared to others, this usually means that, that particular individual is highly motivated to succeed in terms of how society defines success. The fact that another individual may not be motivated toward the same goals doesn't mean that, that person is not motivated at all. In fact, that individual who lacks the drive to succeed based on societal norms "fails" not because he is not motivated, but because he is indeed highly motivated to achieve the opposite.
So you see, motivation is intrinsic in each individual. The fact that one may be demotivated towards one thing means he is motivated towards an opposite end. Everyone is motivated all the time. Parents and employers are on the constant quest to motivate their children and employees, respectively.
With children, parents may decide to use coercion, positive reinforcement or whatever other method available to them, to motivate their children toward a certain behavior. An employer will offer his employees with attractive employment packages that will continue to motivate the workers to perform well and be productive all the time. It is in the fact that we are conditioned to see motivation as something external that gets us into trouble.
For instance, we often blame another individual, entity or institution for our lack of motivation. We blame our spouse or partner for not being a certain way, therefore unable to provide us the motivation we need to stay in the relationship. We also blame our employers for our unproductive behavior, claiming that work conditions are the cause of poor job performance.
The truth of the matter is, no matter what the case is, we are responsible for our own motivations. We should never resort to blame or any negative over emotion because this affects our clarity. This lack of clarity affects our ability to decide the outcome of our motivations. Sometimes we get motivated towards something for the wrong reason and this behavior serves us more harm than good. Motivation is a human tool for self development and actualization and should be used accordingly.