Motivation: Extrinsic Intrinsic


Today, motivation is declined around the concept of self-determination. Self-determination implies the principles of self-efficacy and responsibility. Motivation, therefore, is no longer understood as a reaction to simple stimuli such as hunger or pain. It is not only a “drive” corresponding to physiological needs but it is a process using psychological components including self-worth, self-esteem and self-efficiency.

These psychological components are determined in part by our character traits but also and for a large part by our education, environment and experiences. Each one of us develops overtime a personal relationship to motivation. We may acquire an intrinsic motivational orientation or an extrinsic motivational orientation. We may also navigate happily between the two extremes.

An intrinsic motivational orientation is one that is mainly concerned by a sense of mastery. It is doing something for our own satisfaction, just for the pleasure of accomplishing a task as well as we can without outside (external) recognition. Of course, we all like accolades but the satisfaction here comes from our inner sense of achievement. Artists and athletes, for instance, who practice individually have a heightened intrinsic motivational orientation.

Athletes who practice team sports and/or are regimented by a strict scoring system have a stronger extrinsic motivational orientation. Their sense of self-efficacy and achievement is directly impacted by others recognition. A musician will find energy and inspiration in his/her public ovation. Research has shown, overall, that success results from a healthy balance of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivational style.

It would be interesting to examine our own motivational style to assess our own strengths and our potential psychological issues such as procrastination, self-defeating behaviors, or deflated self-esteem. Where do you situate yourself? What motivates you the most? Do you feel like you have choices to make? Would you like to share your experiences with me?