Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: What is the difference?

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: What is the difference?
by Sandra Harrison | August 27, 2012

"Procrastination is opportunity's natural assassin."  - Victor Kiam.

Motivation can be described as anything that spurs, directs and maintains certain behaviors towards the accomplishment of a particular goal. Your family maybe your motivating factor to work tremendously and earn a decent living, that shiny red Ferrari in your bucket list may be your motivation to get a job done, the pride on your mothers face may be a motivating factor for you to excel in grades, a better brighter bigger dream of tomorrow may be a motivation for you to be successful in life.

Motivation does not just come from worldly elements we tend to immerse ourselves into in today’s materialistic approach. It can very well be derived from within as well. Hence, motivation can be categorized as ‘Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation’.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation can be best described as the desire, to perform a task, from within. It is this desire that makes procrastination vain in your life. When you are intrinsically motivated, you have an intense deep befitting urge from within to accomplish that goal or fulfill that activity. If you love playing the guitar or cooking or are in a profession that satisfies you fully, you will be more than willing and more so, look forward to taking guitar or cooking classes or excelling at the job you do. Such kind of motivation that comes from purely for the love of performing the task originates intrinsically.

When you are intrinsically motivated you do not need a crate of Red Bull to get you by, because you will find the task fairly exciting and easier to do and will stay more focused on your own. Furthermore, you would be more inclined to give in your hundred percent efforts to the task whether you are rewarded for it or not, and that is the power intrinsic motivation can hold over your life. However, intrinsic motivation tends to be limited to a select few tasks, those that you really enjoy, whereas the others which you just simply will never find yourself enjoying, intrinsic motivation fails to conquer. BUT, this is where extrinsic motivation takes the lead, so keep motivated.

Extrinsic Motivation

Who doesn’t like being compensated at the end of a task, some sort of an incentive, you know, the cherry on top of the ice cream Sundae? This is what extrinsic motivation is. It is the motivation that is derived from external factors, the motivation that helps you take on something you are not particularly fond off, the motivation that makes toiling for unbearable hours slightly more bearable. Extrinsic motivation comes from the outside, is unrelated to the task, and is a driving force that directs behavior towards accomplishment of task, for example money, good grades, a bonus, fringe benefits, a prize and such. You may have worked a job you didn’t love because of the pay check at the end of the month, you may have studied rigorously for college so you get a worthy degree not because you love studying, you may cook everyday not out of enjoying the activity but because you need to feed your family, all of these are examples of extrinsic motivation as these behaviors are driven by external factors that are supplementary incentives to the tasks at hand.

Having reinforcing factors or incentives as motivational powers may sound rather shallow, but it is not. We all have varying personalities and enjoy some things while loathing the others. Sometimes, the things we loathe are the things we must do, and in order to do those you need to be motivated. This is where extrinsic motivation rescues our fate. However, with extrinsic motivation, since there is no inner passion and drive to excel and conquer, you may submit to procrastination or performing a task in a sufficient enough manner to gain the reward but not to perfection. Hence, staying motivated is not the end of it. It is about how much you can push yourself too

Conclusion

It is not possible to choose between the two kinds of motivations. Everyday living needs to be about striking a balance between the two. On some occasions you may rely on intrinsic, while on others you may have to seek extrinsic motivation. However, some days you may just surprise yourself too! For example, when you are not feeling up to doing something you otherwise love and are intrinsically motivated to do, use extrinsic motivation to your advantage and treat yourself after finishing that task! This way, combining intrinsic and extrinsic motivation will make sure procrastination does not assassinate opportunities for you, you have a satisfied work-life balance, and a healthier mindset.

About the Author - Sandra Harrison

I am functioning currently as an Author for the Fitness Republic. The focal point of my writing is to integrate healthy habits in everyday life and healthy foods in everyday meals, despite of any economical and time confines. Moreover, it amalgamates cooking recipes, guidelines, tips, and celebrations.

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