Extrinsic v Intrinsic Motivation

Throughout my whole life I have been interested in what motivates people do certain things, and why we as human beings feel motivated only sometimes?

My motivation for writing this blog post was purely due to lack of motivation for writing this blog post & in hope to help you understand your own motivation better from different angles.

So what is motivation?

One definition of motivation describes it as the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviours causing you to act, whether it is getting a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge. – Very Well Mind

2 different types of motivation are seen as extrinsic & intrinsic, describing a persons outer and inner drivers in feeling motivation in which I will explore.

Extrinsic Motivation

An example of my own extrinsic motivation came last night after watching an inspiring documentary (Anne Frank Parallel Stories a must watch to all) that I feel pushed something inside of me to start sharing any thoughts on my blog, rather than just the ones I believe have to be “well thought out”. Although I found this documentary particularly difficult to watch as it revealed the inspiring stories of Nazi Camp survivors sharing their truths of the evil that crushed their childhoods, listening to these stories moved something inside of me to write. I always have a humbling feeling about listening to another person tell their story, their pains and breakthroughs, experiences & emotions.. it brings us closer to each other I think, reminding us we are all human.

Extrinsic motivation comes from some thing outside of ourselves in which we use to potentially better ourselves and/or situation such as doing something for money, approval, praise or get better grades. After all, we are all run in our lives by some form of extrinsic motivators. Even if the work we do comes from our passions with the core being to help others.. we still work hard to expect money to live well in return. Unfortunately, running off of extrinsic motivations only is found in research to only feel good in the short term and may make people lose sight of the simple pleasures of life.

Intrinsic Motivation

This type of motivation stems not from external factors like grades and status, but rather from genuine interest and ambition. 

I often think about this as I watch the stillness of my partner holding his camera capturing photography, I know in that moment he is authentically, intrinsically driven by capturing the present moment and no by the outcome. Or watching a child play with something simple such as a flower or a piece of grass, staring into it intently then kindly hand it to you as a gift with their motivation only intrinsically driven to share a simple beauty. Isn’t it strange to think that at one point, as a young child we were never motivated to something to gain, only to do in the moment. I think if we brought ourselves back to this child like way of thinking and applied this into our every day, our desires and dreams would infinitely change. Let’s not stare at flowers for too long to find motivation, but stop and remember why your soul wants to, every once and a while.

Many successful people aren’t driven by extrinsic motivation to gain money and fame, but instead from intrinsic motivation with their ability to motivate themselves to help others.

Intrinsic motivation is saying “I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.”

Rather than trying to get motivated, focus on what it is inside that motivates you.. from this the motivation will come in divine timing.

Wishing Health, Love & Light!
Katie x

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