Intrinsic Motivation Vs Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation Vs Extrinsic Motivation Picture
Do people gravitate towards rewards and internal satisfaction or towards money and fame?

Motivation is ingrained in every single one of us. Some of us are motivated by money whilst others are motivated by being rewarded.

Intrinsic motivation means doing something for the love of it. You complete tasks or do something because you have a genuine passion for it. These tasks are satisfying to do. One example is playing a sport because you enjoy playing it.

Extrinsic motivation means doing something to earn a reward or to not get punished for something. A lot of people are extrinsically motivated and do tasks and activities not because they enjoy it but because they want a reward at the end of it. One example of extrinsic motivation is doing a job to earn money.

I can honestly say that I am part of both of these motivation groups. Intrinsic motivation is something I express all the time and something which plays a huge factor in my life. This blog is intrinsic motivation for me because I do genuinely enjoy writing this blog and reading and responding to the comments. I also take part in sport because I do genuinely enjoy it and I also like to do puzzles and brain teasers because I do genuinely enjoy it.

Extrinsic motivation exists in my life because even though I do love my job and my team, I turn up to work every day to get that money.

I do believe that everyone has both of these types of motivation in their lives but it is the balance which is key. There should be a healthy balance so that you are happy with your lives and you are doing something you are passionate about. For me, I do believe that there is a healthy balance and I am very happy with my current situation and where I am at for this stage in my life.

Let me know in the comments below; what aspects of your life are extrinsic motivation and what aspects of your life are intrinsic motivation and do you feel like there is a healthy balance?

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69 Comments »

  1. A well-written post, as always. During my years as a working professional, much of my motivation was extrinsic, but now , in retirement, my motivation to help others is intrinsic. Intrinsic motivation to help others results in greater life satisfaction, particularly in older adults.

    • Thank you for your kind words and your support, it is much appreciated.

      Yeah I feel like when you work in a job, you are exposed to doing a lot of things where the motivation is extrinsic.

      I do agree with the fact that intrinsic motivation results in greater life satisfaction

      Thank you for your Insightful comment 😊

    • Yeah most people will face both of these types of motivation. Thank you soo much 😊

      I sincerely hope we all find that balance between these two types of motivation so that we are healthy

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  3. So interesting… Yes I think I’m probably motivated by both, to a degree, but i couldn’t do a job I didn’t like purely for money. I think your post has shown me that I am more intrinsically motivated as a person.

    • As long as you have the balance right in the sense that you are happy with your life and how you are as a person, then this is all that matters.

      Stay true to yourself and happiness will follow!

      I’m glad my post helped you understand yourself more. The more we understand ourselves as human beings, the better we can adapt and approach situations

    • Haha love this πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

      I do agree that everyone is a little bit of both. As long as you have a healthy balance, that’s all that matters

  4. Interesting topic. My main motivation is self-realization, self-development. Blogging also serves this purpose. In my principles, if I qualitatively self-actualize, including at work, then I get a salary that suits me.

  5. I am so Intrinsically focused and motivated but absolutely need to feed the Extrinsic part in order to do basic living. If I could get the Extrinsic element as a regular, passive income as a result of an Intrinsic activity (such as writing a children’s book) then my internal balance would be aligned with what keeps me sane. Great article.

    • I loved reading the analysis in this comment. As long as you find the balance, then you will find happiness!

      Thanks for stopping by

  6. I’m going to buck the status quo here…

    Highly extrinsic when I was younger and when the opportunity for greatest return on effort and reward was most available. Consider also that external reward isn’t confined merely to money, but also to creating the conditions of and around one’s self to result in personal benefit. People tend to think of extrinsic reward as resulting in merely “the trappings of wealth”. But the best extrinsic rewards are those that have long-term results… being able to step off the “hamster wheel”.

    Nowadays, almost entirely intrinsic… but mostly as a result of that earlier “investment”.

    • Oooohh okay this comment taught me a lot. Thank you for that and yeah I do get the part where you lay out what extrinsic reaallllyy means.

      Thanks for that Insightful comment 😊

  7. I believe my work is both- intrinsic because I love what I do and I love the reward of having my students learn but it is also extrinsic in that I sometimes like to be told I’m doing a good job and for others to see the hard work I put in. Definitely all comes down to balance though. Thanks for the post!

    • I believe everyone’s work place is both tbh.

      Like I always say, balance is key and as long as you have that balance where you feel good and healthy, then that’s all that matters.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my blog post. Have a great day 😊😊

  8. The balance you refer to is actually a VERY valid point! I wish someone had explained this to me about 30 years ago. That there should be a mix between things we do for the money and because we need to, but also with other things we enjoy and do for love. Since I’ve been writing, I think I have finally redressed this balance. It also means that I enjoy my paid work more too πŸ˜ƒ Great post!!

    • It is all about that balance and finding the balance which makes you the happiest

      I’m glad that you have now found this balance and I hope you remain happy 😊

      Thank you sooo much for your kind words 😊

  9. I was thinking about a similar concept recently, but my thought was ambition versus passion. Your article filled in some blanks for me. I lost my ambition because it was only extrinsic, and I found my passion which is definitely intrinsic. Now, I want to link my ambition to my passion so that I can find a balance between extrinsic and intrinsic.

    • Yeah ambition vs passion is very very similar. I always strive to do things which I am passionate about because it leads to happiness

      I’m glad that my post helped you out

  10. Intrinsic motivation can be other things that you didn’t mention like wisdom or discipline. It’s like tangible vs intangible. I think everyone is driven by at least a little of both it today’s world

  11. I think both motivation forms are important, but I also think its important to understand how your body functions or rather how your specific anatomy works. Good post.

    • Yeah they are definitely both important and you are absolutely right, we need to know ourselves in order to know the best form of action

      Thank you for your kind words 😊

  12. I agree that we’re both motivated by both, this balance just shifts and change with time and stages of life. For me the critical aspect of β€œsuccess” and β€œwealth” is having a healthy balance where we become so obsessed with one we ignore the other until it’s too late.

  13. Psychologist, Daniel Pink explored this in his book Drive which is all about what motivates us and why. There are some tasks we need to do that will never be intrinsically motivated. How about filing your taxes? Cleaning your house? Studying for an exam? For these type of tasks, the researcher recommends rewards–finding our own carrots. If working out isn’t your thing but you want to be healthy and fit, you need to find ways to motivate and reward yourself. Sometimes, extrinsically motivated tasks can turn into intrinsically driven. This might happen with a child who hates practicing piano. He may need some intermittent rewards to be motivated to get through the beginning phases. Once the child has the pleasure of being able to play music, he may want to practice because he now enjoys the result. If you’re interested in learning more, you can hear Daniel Pink giving Ted Talks.

  14. I really enjoyed this blog post! It’s so important to know whats our intrinsic and extrinsic motivations! I would love it if you checked out my blog tell me your thoughts ! follow my blog if you would like! I will be following yours really enjoyed this post!

  15. I totally agree with what you’re getting at! I’d just like to add that oftentimes, it feels like intrinsic motivation can drastically improve my extrinsic motivation, or at least make me more aware of how to better achieve my extrinsic goals. Balance is indeed key, but finding what stimulates you – whether internal or external – can often be key in achieving your goals!
    Great post!

  16. Most of the times intrinsic motivation makes us do jobs for our satisfaction, get rejuvenated and energized to do jobs that we are exterinsically motivated to do to bring food on the table.
    Loved reading your post.Thanks for sharing.

  17. I’m a firm believer in intrinsic motivation especially when raising children..we all should naturally want to succeed for ourselves…just like we all want to be happy

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