Why do you want to teach? What are the reasons you decided to major in philosophy in college? Why did you consult three different physicians and comb through hundreds of medical journals just to find out whether you should have your daughter vaccinated-isn’t asking your own doctor sufficient? Motivation is at the root of all of these types of questions. Motivation researchers are primarily concerned with the cognitive processes by which people initiate and sustain behaviors. For example, if a group of teachers indicate they decided to teach because they believe ensuring the next generation of young people enters their adult lives prepared to face the challenges of the twenty-first century, then these teachers are likely describing a belief in the utility of what they do. On the other hand, if a student said she decided to major in philosophy because she took introductory courses in logic and in ethics and earned superior marks in these classes, then her competence beliefs are likely the most salient aspect of her motivation.