Motivation, motivation, motivation… many talk about it but I believe few talk enough about the one that moves the needle in our daily life. Motivation is what drives us to act and yet we so often get carried away doing things that don’t bring us true fulfillment.
We live in a world where we continuously feel the need to chase something better, but for what exact purpose? It’s noisy out there, many of us fall into the comparison trap making decisions that aren’t aligned with our values.
As an entrepreneur, I had always considered motivation to be a beautiful “one-dimensional” source of energy but when I studied it closely, I discovered two different types that bring about different results. At a high level, motivation is an emotional reaction that spikes in our brain when we believe we are about to experience something pleasurable and rewarding.
The first type of motivation is called extrinsic motivation and it takes place when we act to receive an external reward. Simple examples of external rewards? Money and status! The problem with being motivated by external rewards is that we rarely are in the position to control the size or measure of it and so the relationship ends up being one of dependency.
The second type is called intrinsic motivation which is a lot more powerful as it is the natural motivation we have within us where no external reward or incentive is needed. This my personal goal with 3SSENTIA as I believe intrinsic motivation is where true richness and freedom lie!
Intrinsic motivation is our natural tendency to seek out novelty, to stretch our capacity, to explore, to learn. Studies show intrinsic motivation drives enhanced, performance, creativity, and even psychological wellness as feelings of positive excitement predominate over the ones of stress. A simple example of intrinsic motivation? Pursuing your project to challenge yourself.
Being intrinsically motivated is a more empowering place to be in as we look inwards rather than outwards, we don’t need as many external rewards to drive us further, we depend less on others and more on ourselves. We experience greater fulfilment, resilient, we even become our biggest critic, in a good way! In a way where we feel we are running life and not life is running us.
Are you managing a team? Research shows that intrinsically motivated people show 46% higher levels of job satisfaction and 32% higher commitment to their jobs.
So what are some of the necessary conditions to experience intrinsic motivation?
1)A sense of autonomy
This translates to having freedom in the way we conduct our work. When we experience freedom, we feel like we have more control over our choices( technically known as self-efficacy) and research has shown that the stronger our perceived self-efficacy, the higher the goals we set for ourselves.
2) A sense of competence.
This means doing high-quality work in a state of optimal challenge where we experience the right balance between boredom and anxiety. If we take a challenge that it´s too easy for our skill level we’ll get bored whereas If the task at hand seems far beyond what we may perceive of being capable of we’ll freak out, get anxious losing intrinsic motivation as a result.
3) A sense of meaning
This is plain and simple: doing work that profoundly moves us. “Why am I doing all of this? What greater purpose or cause am I fulfilling other than paying the bills and having a good life?” When we are purpose-driven, we can inspire and engage in greater relationships with people around us which is a key aspect of our productivity and general wellbeing. When looking at the external factors that mostly influence our intrinsic motivation at work, it turns out that what we find most rewarding the most is the ability to connect with people. The reward of receiving continuous feedback or any form of appraisal can go a longer way than money and perks.
Living off only intrinsic motivation may be to some degree wishful thinking however trying to operate from that state as much as possible is perhaps one of the greatest gifts we can do to ourselves and those around us.
Previously Published on 3essentia.com