Extrinsic motivation refers to any behavior that is driven by external rewards. Things that come from the outside, such as earning a paycheck, getting a good grade on a test, a trophy, or praise from others.
As you might have guessed and very well may already know, intrinsic motivation is the opposite. Behaviors are purely driven by personal satisfaction and the rewarding feeling that comes from within.
Think about your motivation for reading this blog? Are you reading because you were told to by your parents and if they see you reading it, it will please them? This would be considered an extrinsic motivation. Or are you reading because you truly feel you are gaining knowledge and learning more about yourself along the way? This is an intrinsic motivation.
Take note, that each type of motivation is not right or wrong. Both are different and will play their proper roles in different phases of your life. However, if you stop to analyze your own motivations, which type of motivation do you feel may be more sustainable and stable?
You have heard us mention several times now that you can only control the controllable. Most of the time, we do not have control of those extrinsic motivators and rewards, as they come from outside of ourselves. WE DO have control of our intrinsic motivators and feelings of personal satisfaction.
According to behavioral psychologist, Kenda Cherry, extrinsic motivation can sometimes backfire, especially when that reward or praise is taken away.
“While offering rewards can increase motivation in some cases, researchers have also found that this is not always the case. In fact, offering excessive rewards can actually lead to a decrease in intrinsic motivation. The tendency of extrinsic motivation to interfere with intrinsic motivation is known as the overjustification effect. This involves a decrease in intrinsically motivated behaviors after the behavior is extrinsically rewarded and the reinforcement is subsequently discontinued.”
Bottom line, it is important to be aware of both types of motivations and where each play a part in your personal journey. Recognize and find your WHY.
Why are you doing what you do and HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL? Find that internal drive and satisfaction and latch onto it tight because this is your ultimate driving factor. When you are driven from within, everything from the outside is just icing on the cake.
RISE Blog Contributor