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Motivation is the reason for people's actions, desires, and needs. Motivation is also one's direction to behavior, or what causes a person to want to repeat a behavior.  A motive is what prompts the person to act in a certain way, or at least develop an inclination for specific behavior. 
According to Maehr and Meyer, "Motivation is a word that is part of the popular culture as few other psychological concepts are." 
The idea that human beings are rational and human behavior is guided by reason is an old one. However, recent research (on satisficing for example) has significantly undermined the idea of homo economicus or of perfect rationality in favour of a more bounded rationality. The field of behavioural economics is particularly concerned with the limits of rationality in economic agents.