Motivation is a major factor that determines our future, so it is only natural that humans are curious to its nature. We all hope to be able to further understand what exactly drives us in our quest for success and a fulfilled life. Motivation is such a broad topic, that we must break it into pieces before we are able to completely understand the full puzzle.
One of the key drives in our lives is the motivation that comes from within, also known as intrinsic motivation.
What Is Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation is all about doing a task for the sole purpose of satisfying some internal need or desire. There are no outside benefits required. You can find plenty of such examples from your own life. Think of all the times that you have done an activity just for the fun of it! Or that you tried to tackle a challenge just to see how you would handle it. All such tasks are intrinsic motivators for you.
Typical examples include solving crossword puzzles, or any type of puzzle for that matter. There is no external reward to solving a crossword puzzle by yourself. So then why can some of us be so eager to do them all day long? There is simply some internal craving for the fun of doing them.
A lot of us, myself included, are always on the lookout for new ways to become more motivated to work through our daily struggles. We have all experienced those surges of motivation where we find ourselves giving maximum effort towards a certain task. It would be nice if we found some way to make these moments occur more frequently.
So let’s delve into some ways that we can use to increase the effect that intrinsic motivation has on our lives!
3 Ways We Can Increase The Effect Of Intrinsic Motivation In Our Lives
1. Do tasks related to your passion
Remember that intrinsic motivation is all about your internal wants and needs. Working on tasks with a direct link to your true passion will likely cause a lot more intrinsic motivation to flow through your system. Continue to pursue challenges and goals that have a sense of personal meaning to you.
If you feel like you are not sure what your passion is, there are several methods that you can employ to try and discover your personal desires. One of the more powerful ways is to practice gratitude daily. We have also written an article that details key methods you can use if you feel lost in life. It will surely help you on your quest to find your passion and can be found here!
2. Work on tasks that make an impact on other people & communities
Studies have shown that people who work on tasks which resulted in a direct benefit for others or their communities claimed to have a higher sense of personal meaning as a main driver for their work. Hence they felt a stronger sense of intrinsic motivation for continuing their work. Moreover, seeing others benefit from your work is a great motivation booster.
Just try and find a way to have others benefit from your personal goals, however selfish those goals might be. If you are new to goal setting, make sure you read my article on why it is important to set big goals, and how to succeed from them!
3. Limit “rewarding yourself”
One way to negate any intrinsic motivation you may have is to start rewarding yourself with external motivators. These can be anything, from giving yourself a piece of candy or allowing yourself 10 minutes in instagram time for every 1 hours studied.
Have a look at all the goals you are pursuing right now. If you are working towards your true passion, decreasing how much you reward yourself, will actually cause your intrinsic motivation to rise and become more effective in pushing you to achieve that goal.
What Motivation Style Works Best For You
Intrinsic motivations is just one type of motivation, but did you know that within this type there are a multitude of different styles as well? Some of these styles have a great effect on some, but don’t work quite as well on others.
So let’s dive right into the different types of intrinsic motivation styles and see which one works best for you!
1. It’s all about the journey, not the destination
A lot of us can get very motivated by the progression that we see during the tedious journey to reach a goal. Take the classic example of weight loss. People can get an immense boost of motivation when they get on the scale and see that they have lost 2 kilograms. Their goal might have been to lose 15 kgs, but even having lost a fraction of it can give that person real energy to continue with their dietary and exercise regimes.
With every passing week they see themselves lose more and more weight. This is what keeps them motivated in the long run.
Try and find examples in your own lives where you found motivation through the process, rather than just looking towards the end goal. Try and find ways in your current goals to get more motivation out of the journey if you are only focused on the end goal. It will make you much more likely to succeed and realize your dreams!
Focusing more on the journey instead of just on the end goals has other major benefits worth discussing too. If we are pursuing many goals, and we only focus on the end product, we are likely to encounter mental health difficulties, as we don’t feel as if we are completing any goals. We are likely to suffer a lot of emotional stress as a result of this burden. This in turn sees us abandon our dreams and hopes. Don’t let this happen to you and learn to love the journey as much as the final result!
I put this right after the “it’s all about the journey, not the destination” section because it is very similar.
Here the motivation simply stems from the learning process, without much regard to the final result. You might remember from your high school or university days that there were specific classes that you found fascinating. You simply found that class so interesting that you were willing to put a lot more effort into it than for any other subject. Your desire to learn created some unnatural drive to study and work for that course.
Similar to the previous section, as you dive into the topic and realize that you are becoming more knowledgeable you are also becoming more and more motivated to keep on studying and learning.
These kinds of situations can generally be a good indication on what your true passion in life is. I suggest you pursue those passions, as they are what leads to true internal happiness.
This can often also be the case for achievement motivation. The desire to get a difficult task out of the way, like an exam for example, can inspire motivation in people.
3. Physiological motivation
Love is a perfect example of physiological motivation. There is no tangible way to explain that love should drive us to such extreme ends for someone else. There are certain actions and feelings that are deeply rooted within you. They are of a primal nature and cannot simply be ignored. They are regulated in the most primitive and ancient structure in our mind, and has been around for as long as mankind has.
To determine which factors influence our physiological needs, we often find ourselves at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It is a pyramid explaining all the basics needs that humans will innately struggle for, in order of importance of course.
Look up his pyramid, and try and place yourself in it based on your current life circumstances. Based on that you will get an idea of what will trigger your physiological motivation. Understand that the higher you get up the pyramid, the lower the effect of this motivation will be. People are willing to do unthinkable things when they are starving, but will very seldomly result to those same methods when they are living a comfortable life and would like to own Ferrari.
I will be writing about other types of motivation soon, so make sure you stay tuned and keep an eye out on our website for future post on motivation! I hope you enjoyed the read!