What Is Intrinsic Motivation and the way Does It Work?

What Is Intrinsic Motivation and the way Does It Work?

“Excuse me. does one have a solution to my question?” my cocky young interviewer asked me poignantly towards the start of an on-campus interview for an investment company . “Yes,” I answered. “Of course.” I continued. “I’m just gathering my thoughts.” His question, “What motivates you?” and therefore the answers he was suggesting once I didn’t respond immediately—money, recognition, and material items—had clearly caught me off guard.

It wasn’t things that made me uncomfortable as i used to be very confident, and this wasn’t my first on-campus interview. I wasn’t nervous either as my interviewer, Keith, was pretty laid back and wasn’t much older than i used to be . Translation: he didn’t intimidate me in the least , although I knew he was trying to say his authority.

The setting wasn’t throwing me off, despite the slew of coeds passing through my sight as Keith had suggested we hold our interview outside to stay it more casual.

So, what was it? What was keeping me from instantly answering his question? I searched my 20-year-old brain as I took a drink of water to shop for a couple of more seconds when it hit me. Not only did I even have a solution for him, but I also knew what was causing my struggle.

What Is Intrinsic Motivation?

The answer to both questions was deep in my memory banks from a Psych 101 lecture on motivation my first year at the university. it had been during this lecture that we defined the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

The American Psychological Association definitions are almost like those provided by my Psych professor.

  • Extrinsic motivation – an external incentive to interact during a specific activity, especially motivation arising from the expectation of punishment or reward. It seems like , “I actually need that promotion to form extra money .”
  • Intrinsic motivation – an incentive to interact during a specific activity that derives from pleasure within the activity itself instead of due to any external benefits which may be obtained.
  • It seems like , “I’m getting to work really hard to urge that promotion so I are often more fulfilled at work.”

As I sat across from Keith, I remembered the differences between the 2 and pinpointed the source of my mental struggle together with his question. His suggested answers clearly showed that he was extrinsically motivated, whereas i used to be not and had never been throughout my life. This led me to quickly realize that i used to be intrinsically motivated in many areas, school, sports, work, and life generally .

This begs some questions:

  • Where did my inherent, intrinsic motivation come from?
  • What exactly is an intrinsic motivation for many people?
  • How does it work?

Let’s take a more in-depth look to assist you understand where this fits in your life and the way to realize control over it.

In the Beginning

From the time once we were just children, we learn in every situation and environment and from our parents, friends, teachers, and society. This typically occurs by mimicking behavior as all social species do.

One of the primary lessons we learn is that there are consequences that arise from our behavior. This takes many forms, like being given a gold star on our homework to having our favourite toy removed for misbehaving. With each situation, we quickly determine what motivates us to a selected behavior.

This is why psychologists say that Intrinsic motivation is centrally involved in spontaneous exploration and curiosity. it’s an important concept in genetic psychology and has been argued to be an important mechanism for open-ended cognitive development in humans.

During these youth , these motivating factors influence us across multiple areas of our lives, whether we know it or not.


In the case of intrinsic motivation, we do things like tasks due to the pleasure derived from the task itself. We are driven internally by our enjoyment, satisfaction, and internal growth. It doesn’t matter what others believe or what they do; we’ll still act in line with this inner drive.

Using our earlier example, this is often the person who wants the fulfillment of the promotion. The psychological rewards may come from the enjoyment of the particular work, the satisfaction of the increased effort, or maybe the mental improvements that learning provides. altogether cases, the rewards are all internally driven.

This can be an indoor struggle for several people as they’re torn between what they need to try to to and what they need to try to to . This struggle may appear in many areas of one’s life and should range from minor to major. Minor examples might be as simple as choosing what to eat or studying or playing video games. Major examples involve more long-term consequences, like what elective to require in college or what area to measure in.

Sometimes, this struggle can actually cause the lack to make a decision , which may produce other detrimental effects on the individual.

The most identifiable example of selecting a “have to” over a “want” involves two of the foremost significant areas of people’s lives: money and career. Many individuals choose a career which will provide the foremost substantial financial reward over another that they’re going to enjoy more or maybe love.

When you consider this, It’s not as surprising that a worldwide Gallup poll showed that 85% of individuals are unhappy in their current job.[4] this is often a depressing statistic indeed. These individuals are clearly not being motivated intrinsically and are being led by extrinsic motivators.

But is that this a nasty thing?

The answer depends on you. If you reside a lifetime of second-guessing and regret, then probably so. If you’re happy, fulfilled in other ways, and content, then maybe not.

Still, there are ways to foster your intrinsic motivation in any circumstance. an enormous component of this is often where your mindset and focus dwell any task or situation.

Unlocking Your Intrinsic Motivation

Let’s say you would like to dig a ditch. For many, this might appear to be a chore that they might neither choose nor enjoy without being paid or forced to. Both of which are extrinsic motivators if you’ve been following along. But what if you were digging the ditch to make a swimming bath which will provide years of enjoyment for you and your family? this is able to certainly change things for you and most others.

You may then think to yourself, “Today is such a gorgeous day!” Or “Man, this is often great exercise!” If you select to think this manner , then isn’t it possible to urge some satisfaction out of the digging experience? By that specialize in the pleasure of being outside and therefore the workout that digging is providing your body, you shift to a mindset ripe for growth.

While these might appear to be extrinsic thoughts, they’re actually a sort of what psychologist Abraham Maslow mentioned as “growth motivation”—motivation that results in growth from over and above basic needs. At the guts of this growth are things like talents, capacities, and artistic tendencies.

According to Maslow, all folks have a hierarchy of needs. He proposed that motivation is that the results of a person’s attempt at fulfilling five basic needs: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization. He further theorized that these needs could create internal pressures that influence a person’s behavior. Growth motivation may be a a part of our self-actualization and our desire for self-fulfillment.

So, how does all this “psychobabble” slot in together with your intrinsic motivation?

The psychobabble is that the key to unlocking your intrinsic motivation. Once you understand where your internal growth comes from, you’ll shift your focus to the present area instead of any external reward. In doing so, you’ll notice that employment becomes pleasure and pain becomes progress with all of it resulting in growth within yourself.

It is truly a magical place within which will cause years of success and happiness for you because it has on behalf of me . But how, you’ll be asking?

Final Thoughts

With practice, you’ll become more and more in tune together with your desire for self-fulfillment and intrinsic motivation. this may cause more gratitude and more enjoyment, and you’ll be off to the races or even employment interview like me.

My success didn’t come from being an investor with Keith’s firm. In fact, it didn’t come from the financial industry in the least . It did come from learning to grow from the advantages of Intrinsic motivation altogether situations.

In case you’re wondering, I finally answered Keith’s question with one among my very own . “Keith, did you ever take Psych 101?”


1,059 thoughts on “What Is Intrinsic Motivation and the way Does It Work?

          1. I would like to ask you that where can i find comment box? I don’t see it and reply on your comment and request you. Thank you.

  1. With practice, you’ll become more and more in tune together with your desire for self-fulfillment and intrinsic motivation.🥰

  2. Very nice article, we need to move on , we need encouragement from ourselves or Reading such a meaningful article.

  3. These things mentioned in intrinsic motivation ” Pleasure, enjoyment, satisfaction ” are bloody important..

    Of course!!
    Peaceful & healthy mind is more precious than wealth.

    U will be already motivated after ur mind gets some kind of peace or joy..

  4. OK
    We are waiting for your valuable and greatful Articles!, Author. Keep going on your skillful writings!

  5. This is actually in accordance with Buddha teaching. It is all about perspectives. Even if you are in a situation or a job which you are not passionate in, you could change your perspective and make your life more enjoyable. Thanks for such a great article

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