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Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation: What’s The Difference?

* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

Why is it that on some days, we find it more challenging to get out of bed, make the kids a nutritious breakfast before they go to school, and then go to work? On some days, we ace the morning ritual; on others, things go horribly wrong. So, what’s the difference between intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation?

Our actions are driven by our motivations—or lack thereof.

There are various kinds of motivation, and knowing the reasons behind your triggers can help you stay motivated and inspire others.

This post will examine the two motivational styles—intrinsic and extrinsic—. Discover how they differ, their advantages, and how to combine them to boost output.

healing journey

Motivation: What is it?

We must first comprehend what motivation is to start understanding what propels us toward our objectives.

The mechanism that starts, directs, and sustains goal-oriented behaviors is known as motivation. Whether drinking a glass of water to quench your thirst or reading a book to learn new information, motivation drives you to take action.

The basic definition is very straightforward. Correct?

It takes motivation to get up from the couch and take out the trash.

I apologize; it’s not that easy.

Empirical evidence indicates that motivation is not a straightforward concept. Individuals differ not only in the types but also in the amounts of motivation they possess. In other words, they vary in terms of motivation level (i.e., how much motivation) and motivation orientation (i.e., what kind of motivation).

For more than 50 years, researchers have examined the psychology of action, perseverance, motivation, and self-determination. Consequently, beliefs about the causes are constantly changing.

Theory of Self-Determination

Researchers differentiate between several motivational kinds in the Self-Determination Theory of Motivation by considering the various motives or objectives that lead to an activity.

The two extremes of extrinsic and intrinsic drive are the most fundamentally different.

Thirty years of research have demonstrated that when someone acts for intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivations, the quality of experience and performance can differ significantly.

Both internal and external motivation

We are all motivated by two primary sorts of motivation at the most basic level. Both internal and external motivation

Intrinsic motivations originate from within the person, such as tackling a challenging crossword puzzle alone for the satisfaction of doing so.

Extrinsic motives originate from outside the person and frequently entail prizes like medals, cash, accolades, or public acclaim.

It’s critical to understand these motivational styles more deeply to comprehend how they impact our behavior.

Intrinsic motivation: what is it?

Engaging in an action that one finds gratifying or delightful on an intrinsic level is intrinsic motivation.

When people are driven by intrinsic motivation, they behave not in response to rewards, pressures, or tensions from other sources but because it is enjoyable or challenging.

For instance, a child may play outside by running, skipping, or jumping because it’s enjoyable and naturally fulfilling.

Extrinsic motivation: what is it?

This is extrinsic motivation when we are driven to act or participate in behavior to receive praise or stay out of trouble.

In this instance, your actions are motivated by obtaining something in return or avoiding something unpleasant rather than enjoyment or satisfaction.

Teens may tidy their rooms to avoid trouble with their parents or do the dishes at home to get an allowance.

Factors Affecting Both External and Internal Motivation

People are naturally motivated to pursue activities that they find fascinating or entertaining, known as intrinsic motivation.

We possess innate motivation from birth.

We are lively, eager, curious, and playful from birth onward, showing a propensity to learn and explore, and we don’t need incentives or prizes to do so. This innate drive for motivation is essential to developing cognitive, social, and physical abilities since we acquire knowledge and skills via doing.

The propensity to engage in hobbies, actively integrate, and use our skills creatively is not a childhood trait; instead, it is a crucial component of daily living that influences productivity, perseverance, and overall well-being across all stages of life.

However, our social environment needs to support intrinsic motivation to thrive.

Our sense of perceived authority and self-competence is influenced by our work, home, and social environments, all of which affect our level of intrinsic motivation.

Our level of inner motivation increases when we live in environments that support our self-competence.

In situations where we feel underpowered and unqualified, our intrinsic motivation wanes.

Researchers Deci and Cascio discovered that deadlines, surveillance, and punishment threats all reduce intrinsic motivation and raise extrinsic incentives.

Which is better, intrinsic or extrinsic motivation?

Being intrinsically motivated is preferable to being extrinsically encouraged at first appearance.

However, our world is not quite so motivationally saturated. It is okay to be extrinsically motivated; it is simply part of what it means to be a person in the modern world.

Sometimes, extrinsic motivators might help encourage people to take action for tasks that are not inherently attractive, including recycling, finishing schoolwork, following the law, etc.

Even if you appreciate your work, if you have a job and a project to finish, you’re probably motivated by external factors like your manager’s praise or the possibility of a raise or commission.

Even though you enjoy studying and practicing the language, you are extrinsically driven to learn a foreign language if you are in school since you will be graded on it.

Thus, both inner and extrinsic incentives are positive. It is essential to properly comprehend the fundamental causes of your motivation to promote both kinds of reason.

Some strategies for boosting intrinsic motivation

Getting compliments on oneself can boost motivation within.

Positive reinforcement and comments when someone performs better than others have been shown by researchers to enhance intrinsic motivation. When you give yourself positive reinforcement, be sure to be specific.

Create your inward incentives.

You can establish intrinsic motivation by linking internal incentives to external motivators, even if you typically require extrinsic motivation. You can use that external motivation to create internal rewards, such as joining a weight-loss support group if that’s what you want to do.

As you begin to lose weight as a result of the outside assistance, concentrate on how good it feels to be physically lighter, as well as the knowledge that your efforts are the reason you are losing weight. Point out your precise adjustments and congratulate yourself on sticking with them. That is to say, you are essentially converting motivation from the outside into the inside.

When to Use Outside Motivation

People sometimes need more internal drive when faced with tasks like doing the dishes or homework. In these situations, extrinsic motivation can motivate people to finish the activity.

A person’s interest in a task or talent that they had no prior interest in might be piqued by extrinsic rewards. In addition to verbal praise or correction, rewards such as commissions, prizes, awards, bonuses, or accolades can also motivate individuals to acquire new skills or receive concrete feedback.

When using extrinsic rewards, exercise caution. Research has demonstrated that, through the overjustification effect, providing excessive tips for actions and pursuits that people are already intrinsically driven to engage in can work against that person’s intrinsic motivation.

In these situations, compensating someone for something they already find fulfilling can turn an activity they like personally into work, which may deter them from continuing.

In summary

In an ideal world, we would have an innate drive to finish the tasks. But in actuality, we require both external and internal drivers of motivation. All we have to do is figure out what motivates us individual.

1 thought on “Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation: What’s The Difference?”

  1. Both extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation drive human behavior. There are several key differences between motivation that comes from external rewards and the kind that is driven by an individual s genuine interest, including the influence of each type on a person s behavior and the situations in which each type will be most effective. Understanding how each type of motivation works and when it is likely to be useful can help people perform tasks (even when they do not want to) and improve their learning.

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