Motivation is our enthusiasm and need or reason for doing something.

Why do we enjoy doing something rather than something else? What are the reasons for this? What drives us to do certain things for our internal satisfaction, while other things are done without internal desire? What makes us act and follow through?

These are questions that motivation can explain by further considering Extrinsic or Intrinsic factors. Learning, autonomy, belonging, purpose, social contact and love are examples of intrinsic motivation which is defined as performing an action or behavior because you enjoy the action itself”.1 
The motivational stimuli are coming from within us.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do” 
Steve Jobs

Examples of extrinsic factors are external rewards such as: money, celebrity, grades, praise or fear of punishment. Extrinsic motivation is defined as “doing something for external rewards or to avoid negative consequences”.
The stimuli are coming from outside us and with the incentive or promise of a reward or to avoid a punishment. 

“You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both these methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self motivation.” 
Homer Rice

As individuals, we are all different; with different motivational needs and reasons. Some people respond better to intrinsic motivation, whereas for others, it is the opposite. Depending on the situation, such as a group project, it may be necessary to adopt a more extrinsic attitude working towards a group goal or reward.

It is often said that intrinsic motivations are more effective than extrinsic, or at least there should be a balance between them both. The example of successful serial entrepreneurs is often cited in the case of intrinsic motivation, as their success is often based on factors such as doing what they really like, challenges and creativity. Off course, the extrinsic factor of “money” is also a driving force in some cases.

In the prior article the reader questioned and found her motivation. She then followed through with concrete action. Her experience is a good example of how motivation and in this case, intrinsic motivation, can lead to satisfaction and success.  

After taking the time to reflect on her situation and being honest with herself, she realized that she enjoyed learning.  Once the decision was made to spend her days on the intrinsic factor of learning, she stopped asking the question “what next” and regained her confidence and self-esteem.  

The intrinsic need and enjoyment of learning, fulfilled also an extrinsic factor, that of getting a new job. Although it is not mentioned in the article, her career may have been one of her long-term aspirations.

It takes determination to study from a home environment. It entails self-discipline and self-motivation. The article doesn’t mention any obstacles she may have encountered while pursuing the online education. She appeared to do it with enjoyment. This is an important factor for success: finding what motivates you, putting it into action and seeing it through. The most difficult stage in motivation is putting intentions into action.

“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint”, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced” .
Vincent Van Gogh

A substantial amount of literature and advice, as well as conflicting opinions, have been written on motivation. A first individual step to understanding self-motivation, is to be honest with oneself. By being honest with oneself, we begin to better understand what stimulates us, what we really want to do and what gives us enjoyment and satisfaction. Some of the factors that we enjoy may require determination and passion to see them through.

Understanding our motivation will also help in choosing the right career path. During interviews, the question “what motivates you” is often asked. It appears to be a straightforward question, but it can tell a lot about your personality and ambitions: are you motivated by money, by progression, by self-esteem, by love of the job, by helping others…

If you take the time in advance to think about “what motivates me”, you will be better prepared to answer this question and to make the right decisions.

By knowing what motivates you, it may avoid taking a job that does not interest or fit your long-term aspirations. You may possess the expertise for the position, but if the motivation or the love of the job are absent, you will not be internally satisfied.

If you have the choice (because sometimes we do not have the choice!), try to pursue a role or a project that inspires and which you really enjoy.  Over the long-term, you will remain more motivated.

“If you don’t build your own dreams someone will hire you to help build theirs”. Tony A Gaskins Jr

ARTICLE AUTHOR: Brid Doherty-Appriou 1 2

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