Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Yesterday we discussed internal and external locus of control. In summary, it was suggested that it is best to own what we can control such as our actions, beliefs, thoughts, feelings and our reactions to what we cannot control. We also discussed that there are some circumstances where we need to “give it up to fate” such as circumstances we can’t control such as the weather, the stock market and people driving recklessly.

Another related topic is that of  “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from within such as doing things we love or have an interest in. Extrinsic motivation comes from the outside environment such as getting paid to do a job we are not that excited about or by the fear of being yelled at by our boss for coming in to work late.

Most often we experience intrinsic motivation when performing those things we choose to do on our spare time. As a surfer, I am intrinsically motivated to get up a dawn and drive to the beach before the wind textures the surf. As a runner, my wife gets up early every day to ensure that she gets her run in.

The most common experience of extrinsic motivation is that of working for a paycheck. If you do not intrinsically love what you do, then the only way that you are going to drag yourself to work is for the promise of tangible reimbursement.

Tomorrow we will discuss the benefits of intrinsic motivation.


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