Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Intrinsic Motivation

In my opinion, intrinsic motivation is the most important kind of motivation a person can have. Intrinsic motivation (motivation occurring with no obvious external consequences) causes people to feel more pride in the outcome. Of course the gain of a physical prize is always rewarding, the feeling is short lived. When something is achieved that is intrinsically motivated, the end reward is something to be proud of. Overall, intrinsically motivated behaviors, deliver more positive results and happier people.
One example of intrinsic motivation is the movie Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump is the story of a man with an extraordinary life accomplishing extraordinary goals with no intention of gaining any external stimuli. Here is a quick example of Forrest Gump's motivation!


One of the most important place to use intrinsic motivation is in the workplace. The video below discusses the negative effects of extrinsic motivation (bigger salary, more responsibilities, etc) and punishment (threatening). It makes the point that intrinsic motivation is key to having a successful workplace. When employees are working for a sense of autonomy, mastery, and purpose, their attitude towards work is much more positive than it would be if they were working towards a bonus.



  1. I completely agree with your post. When I read about Intrinsic motivation I thought ahead to my future career as a social worker. That field does not pay extremely well, but I chose that major because I wanted something to have pride in. I originally chose a different major coming into school but I realized that it was not my calling and I only chose it for the external motivation I had towards it. My social work major was chosen because I want to have pride in my professional career. I would rather be a social worker to take pride in my job then enjoy a higher pay check and, like you said, have the feeling be short lived.

  2. I believe intrinsic motivation is essential for success and happiness. If you absolutely hate going to your job everyday, no amount of money is going to make you happy. Most of us have to work for the majority of our lives so it is important to choose a career that you love. While external rewards are necessary (money), they are not going to make you truly happy in the long run.

  3. This post reminds of two of my very good friends. All three of us are the type of people who would rather do our own home improvements rather than hiring someone; however, both of my friends always get too impatient waiting for the extrinsic reward (actually having whatever it is they're working on) to take the time to do it right, giving them the intrinsic reward of a job well done. For example, both of these friends recently purchased temporary pools that they installed themselves, but neither of them took the time to properly level the ground in their yards so that the pools would sit correctly. This may seem like a small issue, but when this is the case for every do-it-yourself project around their homes it's an obvious trend. As Megan stated, these external rewards (in this case the pools) made them happy, but the intrinsic reward of having pride in your home would surely make them much happier in the long run.