Match vs Lighter: What is Your Motivation Like?

Which one are you? How are you motivated? 

A person who is motivated like a match is the type of person who needs something external to light them and they have a limited fuel source to keep them going. They ignite fast, produce a hot flame and then burn out. People can accomplish things with this motivational style but it can be difficult to accomplish tasks.

One of the difficult aspects of a match is that it needs to be struck on some external surface to ignite. Some matches are strike anywhere and some need to be struck on a specific striker pad. Despite the surface and design of the match, all matches need some external force to strike it against. A match has its limits of ignition and also its effectiveness due to the lasting fuel source.

Most matches have a small wood or paper fuel source of an inch or two inches in length. This small fuel source only allows the match to burn for a short period of time before it runs out. Some matches have been created with longer fuel sources that can burn two, three, four, or even five times longer but they all have a limit. A person who has motivation like a match needs to be continually motivated, supported, and requires a lot of external factors to ignite them and keep them lit.


A lighter has an internal flint and fuel source. A person who is a lighter is intrinsically motivated and needs to be filled from time to time but can sustain a flame. While a lighter takes longer to make and more resources to create, it doesn’t require the same external forces that a match does to light itself.

A lighter requires more intention to design, build, and use. While it takes more resources to make a lighter and maintain it, the ability for a lighter to work longer and more frequently is what makes it better than a match. 

So which one do you identify with? A match that needs external motivation and a limit amount of burn time?  or a lighter that can be turned on and off when needed, it can be refueled and has an internal ability to be re-lit? Both can be useful and we all have one or the other (and sometimes both depending upon the different situations we are in). Motivation for life and change is significant to healthy functioning and success. Knowing what motivates you, how you are motivated, and the types of motivation can help you make change to live well.