Instrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation – What Gets You Going?

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Do you let external pressures influence your decisions?

We are motivated by different things in life. Sometimes why we do things and why we don’t do others can be hard to pinpoint. Consider the following about intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and how they may affect your energy.

What’s the Difference Between Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation?

Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation are very different. With the former, extrinsic motivation, being motivation that comes from external forces. For example, if you are:

  • showing up to meetings on time because you want to impress your boss;
  • participating in neighborhood communities to get positive attention;
  • or completing a task to avoid being reprimanded, you have acted as a result of extrinsic forces.

Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is motivation that comes from within. Taking a long walk because it is peaceful to you, completing a task because it gives you satisfaction or cooking dinner for your partner because it makes you feel happy are all examples of intrinsic motivators.

Which Is Better? 

There is a time and a place for both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. It is something you should think about whether you are leading others or simply working on being more self aware. Some studies have shown that too much extrinsic pressure can actually have the opposite effect – i.e. telling your employees to be on time or else there will be consequences can actually reduce internal motivation, leading to more tardiness. In nearly all cases, having your intrinsic values and desires aligned with your actions and behaviors is ideal for your energy; doing something just because it is expected is rarely a smart idea.

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