Life Hacks

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation: What’s the Difference Between Them?

We all wake up every day and every morning we muster up the motivation to do new things in life. 

However, some days are brighter than the others. Some days we feel more motivated to achieve our goals; other days, we just feel sulky and down. We can’t figure out the best option we have.  

Motivation is of different types; and at times, people don’t tend to grasp the right form of motivation. 

And that leads to their sulkiness. Are you one among many who are still figuring out which motivation you lack? The two major forms of motivations that I am about to discuss is intrinsic and extrinsic. 

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation

People often confuse figuring out which one’s which. Let’s discuss how they are different from each other. 

What Is Intrinsic Motivation?

When motivation comes intrinsically, it means that you are motivated to do something for self-grooming or self-satisfaction. It is to pacify your inner self so you can do better at what you do

For instance, 

  • If you want to read the book, you want to read it because of the story-telling. 
  • If you want to take a swim, you want to swim because you enjoy the water. 
  • If you want to take up a job in Uber, it’s because driving relaxes your mind. 

What Is Extrinsic Motivation?

When motivation comes extrinsically, it means that you are motivated to do something it’s because you have a hope to earn a reward. Here, the behavior is mostly motivated by an external factor.

For instance, 

  • If you are doing your job that you don’t want to, it’s because it rewards you with a salary.
  • If you are reading a book (a textbook), it’s because you want to pass your exams. 
  • If you are exercising on a daily basis, it’s because you want to lose weight and feel proud. 

So What’s the Difference? 

Let’s be honest, intrinsic motivation sounds more interesting than extrinsic motivation, doesn’t it? When you are intrinsically motivated, you can, you are less dependent on external factors and you are able to focus more keenly on the tasks at hand. Looks that way, but that’s not always the case. 

Intrinsic motivation may sound like a lavish option if we were living in an ideally designed world. However, we are not living in one and factors for demotivation normally comes our way in many shapes and forms every day. Being passionate about something is good but really, it’s not enough. 

To stay motivated in accomplishing your daily tasks, you need both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. 

Let me explain this concept using an example, 

When you are at a job, having a passion for doing what you think is best isn’t always the right option. You have to adjust to your client requirements, to your employees work paces, and listen to the boss. At times as such, finding the intrinsic motivation or making it survive can become quite a hassle. It gets more difficult if you are surrounded by negative employees.

What you need is a bit more than just an inner push. 

How about some extrinsic motivation? If you have a job and you are tasked to complete your project (let’s not forget that the task is pretty hectic), you will only be able to complete it if there is a reward. How about your boss comes around and tells you if you are able to complete it you will get a bonus?

Now, you have an extrinsic motivation. Now, you can easily achieve that task.  

When is the Best Time to Motivate Yourself Intrinsically?

Intrinsic motivation is for those who are more task-oriented. Things like appreciation, positive feedback, and praises fuel intrinsic motivations. They are quite the opposite of extrinsic motivation. If your child or an employee is more intrinsically motivated, using external rewards in their case will automatically decrease their intrinsic motivation. For instance, if you praise a child too much on completing a simple task, he or she may experience intrinsic demotivation. 

Here’s when Intrinsic motivation may work best for you; 

If you are a manager and you believe your employees can feel motivated with positive reinforcement, then you can intrinsically motivate them by giving them praise or a positive comment on their work. 

Neither too much of something is good, nor too less of something is good. 

Keep your positive comments coming in moderately so they don’t lose their intrinsic motivation. 

When is the Best Time to Motivate Yourself Extrinsically?

Extrinsic motivation is for those who are more result-oriented. Things like rewards, trophies, and promotion fuel extrinsic motivations. They are quite the opposite of intrinsic motivation. If your child or an employee is more extrinsically motivated, using appreciations will not quite work out for them. In their case, they are more likely seeking a reward at the end as an outcome of their performance. In fact, a positive appreciation for them will result in demotivation for them. 

Here’s when Extrinsic motivation can work best for you;   

If you are a manager and you believe your employees can feel motivated with a monetary bonus, fuel them so they can extrinsically motivate themselves and overachieve at the tasks they are set for.  

It isn’t necessary that you reward them on their achievement; set a periodic pace such as quarterly targets. If your teams and employees are achieving their quarterly targets; you can reward them. 

There you go; I hope you are now well-acquainted with both forms of motivation. 

One thought on “Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation: What’s the Difference Between Them?

  • Gallagher

    Some really nice stuff on this website, I really enjoy it.


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