How can I discover my intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation: what is it? How can they be promoted?

Many people are driven by external influences, expectations, or fear. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from within. It is considered to be the most important and most intense form of motivation. It is this self-arising motivation that drives us to peak performance and helps us over obstacles. Unfortunately, intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation are often confused or not differentiated. So you don't notice that the inner drive is missing - until problems arise. Here you can find out where the differences lie and how you can promote intrinsic motivation ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

What is intrinsic motivation?

Intrinsic motivation is the self-arising motivation in a person. Those who are intrinsically motivated (Latin "intrinsecus" = inward, inward) do an activity because they find it interesting, have fun in it, and find it particularly meaningful or challenging. You have an inner drive to devote yourself to this cause.

Intrinsic motivation is characterized by honest joy in a task. This can be seen, for example, in a passion that you are really passionate about or a hobby. You are extremely motivated in these matters, you spend your free time with them and you can occupy yourself with them for hours.

It doesn't need any form of reward or confirmation. Intrinsically motivated people want to do something on their own initiative and fully control it. Simply for personal pleasure. The behavior in itself is reward enough without having to be directed towards a rational purpose.

Difference: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation

The opposite pole to the inner drive is extrinsic motivation. This type of drive is produced from the outside. You do not dedicate yourself to a task for its own sake, but because you have been motivated to do so by external influences. Factors for extrinsic motivation can be, for example:

  • Financial incentives such as salary, commission, or promotion.
  • Fear of termination.
  • Status and recognition.
  • Expectations from other people (parents, partners, society ...)

When you act out of extrinsic motivation, you are doing something to achieve a goal. These can be specific advantages and rewards, but acceptance and belonging to a group are also external motives. The difference can be seen in a simple example: an intrinsically motivated person chooses the training or course of study that interests him personally and whose content he enjoys on his own initiative. Extrinsic motivation is based, for example, on future earning potential or on the parents' ideas.

But it is also important to understand that intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation often coexist. You can take great pleasure in your job and have an inner drive to work. That is why you chose the profession. At the same time, you want to be paid well for it and get into a good position. The forms of motivation are not mutually exclusive.

Does intrinsic motivation suffer from external factors?

The assumption of some motivational researchers that extrinsic incentives negatively influence intrinsic motivation or make it disappear completely is now considered incorrect. Experts assume that both forms can coexist without any effects - as long as one requirement is met: A reward must have a specific reference to a performance criterion. If someone is only rewarded for just doing an activity, intrinsic motivation decreases.

Advantages of the internal driving force

Basically, intrinsic motivation is seen as a stronger and better driving force. If your motivation comes from within, you are more efficient, more committed and better able to overcome difficulties. The degree of intrinsic motivation also influences willingness to learn. A great advantage in training, studies, further education or training and of course in the job. Motivation from within is therefore an important key success factor.

In addition, intrinsic motivation is a prerequisite for creativity and flexible thinking. It takes real interest and fun in a topic to creatively deal with it. Those who act intrinsically motivated are also more satisfied. You don't feel compelled or pressured to do anything. You do it out of fun, interest and your own decision.

Examples of the benefits

A simple example of the advantages of inner driving force: If you want to do sport out of intrinsic motivation - because you enjoy it and you want to live healthier - you manage to get up and stick to the training plan. If the motivation only comes from outside - because the friends are doing sports and you want to keep up - you will find excuses more often and stay on the couch.

Smokers who want to overcome their addiction report similar things. Friends and family can always point out the unhealthy consequences and get them to stop. In the end, it only works when the smoker develops an intrinsic motivation and decides on his own initiative that he wants to quit.

Promote intrinsic motivation

Everyone is capable of intrinsic motivation. In most cases, the internal process motivation is decisive. They only do tasks for their own sake. You simply enjoy doing this because it is interesting, exciting, challenging, and feels good to you. A passionate musician doesn't necessarily need a large audience.

The question arises: Why don't we do everything out of intrinsic motivation? The simple answer: Because that is not possible. You can't just force real inner drive. There will always be activities that you do not enjoy. Nevertheless, intrinsic motivation can be promoted. The following tips will help:

  • reward
    You can trick yourself by rewarding yourself or by combining an unpleasant activity with a pleasant one. After completing your tax return, you can buy something nice or go out for a chic dinner. You can also put your favorite music in a good mood. This promotes intrinsic motivation because you immediately have more fun in an otherwise unpleasant task.
  • Breaks
    Give yourself regular breaks. Tasks that you have to force yourself to do are easier when you can relax from them every now and then. You come back with a clear head and new motivation. In addition, you are more relaxed and focused, which means that you make fewer mistakes. You can also increase your intrinsic motivation by breaking down large tasks into small parts. This will make each piece less frustrating and you will go about it in a better mood.
  • Voluntariness
    Intrinsic motivation is based on voluntariness. Decide for yourself that you want to devote yourself to the task. Don't wait until time constraints or the boss force you to. Start on your own accord to get a better feeling.
  • sense
    Try to find meaning in each task. Ask yourself what is the point of a job for you personally. You may not feel like jogging for an hour right now. Realize the meaning that you want to live healthier and lose weight, increase your intrinsic motivation.
  • Focus
    In almost every task you can discover parts that interest you. Boost your intrinsic motivation by focusing on it. Do you hate cleaning, but enjoy doing sports? Focus on moving, not cleaning up.

How can you intrinsically motivate employees?

Intrinsic motivation in the job is a big plus for both sides. Employees enjoy their work, experience less stress, feel good and see their job as part of self-realization. Companies benefit from better results and committed employees. An intrinsically motivated employee is more willing to work the necessary overtime, to train and to work for success.

The problem: employers often only focus on extrinsic motivation. A raise in salary, the prospect of a promotion or praise from a manager are motivators - but only external sources. It is entirely possible to increase the intrinsic motivation of employees. The following measures and options help employers and superiors:

  • Ensure a pleasant working atmosphere and a good working atmosphere.
  • Transfer responsibility and control for tasks and areas.
  • Clarify the purpose of work and daily tasks.
  • Challenge and encourage employees without overwhelming them.
  • Provide feedback on the accomplishments.
  • Create a varied work environment.
  • Let employees act and decide freely and independently.

366 motivating & inspiring graphics and sayings

You will find even more daily motivation in our free annual calendar with a total of 366 motivating and inspiring images, graphics, sayings and quotes - one for every day. That gives you a good boost in motivation ... You can download the FREE PDF here. (Attention, the file is around 115MB because of the almost 400 pages!)

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