The Power of Intrinsic Motivation

Today we’re first going to take a look at the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Then we’re going to examine the power of intrinsic motivation and how you can make it work for you.

Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation is just what it sounds like. Motivation that is external to you. This is when you do something to receive a reward or to avoid punishment. For example, a high school boy wants to make the basketball team so he can be popular and get closer to the cheerleaders.

On the other hand, intrinsic motivation comes from inside you. This is when you do an activity because it is rewarding in and of itself. Let’s use the same example of the high school boy who wants to be on the basketball team. He joins because he loves to play basketball or he’s fascinated with the idea of learning the game. He is internally or intrinsically motivated. 


Some Examples of Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation:

  • Unless you are very fortunate, you don’t go to work because or intrinsic motivation. The fact is, most people don’t go to work because they love going to their job. They go because they will receive money and (perhaps) some recognition for it. This is a great example of extrinsic motivation.
  • Most children do their chores because he or she wants a reward or wants to avoid a punishment. This is another excellent example of extrinsic motivation.
  • Many people start a business around something they love to do or they love the challenge that it will bring. This is an example of intrinsic motivation.

On the other hand, if you want to start a business as a way to make lots of money or to get away from having a boss, you are being motivated extrinsically. 

  • Some people are in a relationship as a means to financial security, companionship, and the opportunity to have children. In this case, they are extrinsically motivated.

But. if you truly enjoy spending time with your partner and having someone to share your life with, this would primarily be intrinsic motivation. The same goes for the reasons you stay with your partner. Are you in love with them (intrinsic), or afraid of leaving because of the consequences (extrinsic)?

  • Do you work best with deadlines? If you do you are extrinsically motivated Intrinsic motivation is when you your work because it fills you with meaning, not to meet deadlines.

While we might lean in one direction or the other, we all have intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Knowing what these are is a great way to get and stay motivated.  

Why is Intrinsic Motivation More Powerful?

Intrinsic motivation relies directly on how you honestly feel about something. Unlike external motivators, this type of motivation is extremely helpful in developing long-term outcomes (goals) that lead to long-term happiness.

Questions You Can Use to Develop Your Intrinsic Motivation

The following are some questions to ask yourself to help you hone in on your internal motivators.

1.     What do you love to do?

Unless it is for survival, most people won’t continue to do things they don’t enjoy doing. Even if your doctor tells you that you need more exercise in order to prevent a serious health issue, you won’t continue to exercise if you don’t enjoy the type of exercise you’re doing.

In Mindful Mastery, you learn a process that helps you hone in on the things that provide you with intrinsic motivation. You always want consider what feels most enjoyable as a way to accomplish the task you are doing. By knowing what motivates you internally, it will be hard to stop you from moving down the path toward fulfillment.

2.     What are your favorite rewards?

In Secrets of the Black Belt Mindset, you learn how to use a process called the habit loop. Originally found in “The Power of Habit”, by Charles Duhigg, the habit loop consists of three steps. These are a trigger or reminder, a routine and a reward. 

A reward is it can be as simple as pumping your fist in the air and congratulating yourself or enjoying the view of the sunrise after completing an early morning workout. It’s simply something that helps you feel good.

Maybe you want to make pushups part of your morning routine. Let’s say you set a goal of doing 25 pushups. After completing your 25 pushups, you leap into the air and say, “You are awesome!”  Over time, this simple reward can make pushups more enjoyable and attractive.

3.     Why I am doing this?  

In Mindful Mastery, you go through a process that helps you figure out your why. When you link what you are doing to a greater purpose, it makes you aware of how important even the smallest of tasks can be. As a martial artist, practicing the same kick over and over might seem mundane, but if you understand how integral they are to becoming a black belt, the kicks take on a lot more meaning.

Intrinsic Motivation – The Power You Have Inside You

When looking at someone like Jeff Besos, some people say, “He has so much money, why doesn’t he just retire?  They think this because they believe that most people work only to make money. For them, if you take the money out of the picture, they’d quickly stop going to work. With the job they are doing, if they had enough money, they’d quit.

However, Jeff Besos became wealthy because he loves building and creating. He truly has intrinsic motivation. To him, money is secondary. This is why he continues working.

This is why you need to find your internal motivators, because intrinsic motivation will keep you coming back for more.

Extrinsic motivators, like money, are much less reliable. When the external reward vanishes or becomes less enticing, you’ll lose your motivation to repeat that behavior.

By looking for and finding things you love to do, and then doing them, you will put yourself among the few who use your natural interests to create lifelong happiness and true success.

Subliminal Success

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