We all need that push to complete mundane or overwhelming tasks. That’s what motivation provides. These are big words, but we’ll make them more digestible. We’ll also show you examples of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and explain how to use both types.

What is extrinsic and intrinsic motivation

People may have asked you, “Why do you do what you do?” You’re probably just as curious to find out what drives your behaviors, just as psychologists are. Many of them have studied the concept of motivation, mainly how intrinsic and extrinsic motivation impacts our actions.

Both types of motivation are crucial for our emotional growth and maturity. Researchers have discovered that both have different effects on our behaviors. It’s essential to know how each of them works to understand how they affect us.

A person is extrinsically motivated by external sources to perform expected behaviors. For example, a child may complete their homework because their parents will reward them with ice-cream. Extrinsic motivation happens when people behave as they should to get rewards or avoid punishments.

Intrinsic motivation comes about when people engage in behaviors because they are fulfilling. They perform them for their own sake instead of an external reward. In other words, the action itself is the reward.

The difference between the two is the reason for doing a task. Your motivation is intrinsic if you do something just for enjoyment and, it fulfills you. It is extrinsic if you expect a reward at the end of it.

Examples of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Anyone would find ‘intrinsic and extrinsic motivation‘ a mouthful term, so it would help to know examples of these.

Extrinsic motivation stems from the possibility and includes:

  1. Participating in a basketball event because you want to win the trophy;
  2. Studying especially hard to win a scholarship;
  3. Studying hard because your parents promised you that they would buy you your favorite toy if you got a good grade;
  4. Helping to wash dishes to get extra pocket money;
  5. Completing tasks at work to get a promotion;
  6. Taking ballet lessons because your parents expect you to do so;
  7. Cleaning your room to avoid punishment;
  8. Organizing your home because your spouse told you that both of you would be having dinner at a romantic restaurant

Intrinsic motivation includes:

  1. A sense of accomplishment because you’ve learned a new scale on the piano;
  2. A sense of fulfillment because you see progress in your work;
  3. Feeling that you belong when you participate in group activities;
  4. You wash the dishes because you like it when things are spotless;
  5. Feeling fulfilled when you volunteer at a shelter;
  6. You are feeling gratified when you complete your homework because you’ve had the chance to practice your skills.

Which type works better, intrinsic or extrinsic motivation?

Intrinsic motivation indeed gets better results because of one key element – passion. You do a task well because you enjoy doing it, and will be motivated to keep pushing even when you face challenges.

You understand the purpose of a task when you are intrinsically motivated. You’d want to increase your knowledge so that you can complete your job, and improve your memory as well. It helps educators to teach more effectively. The public sectors of many countries, which face productivity challenges, need it sorely.

Intrinsic motivation has clear advantages. However, it may not be relevant if you have to complete a task that you have no desire to do.

Extrinsic motivation doesn’t appear useful, at least not in the short term. But we may need to rely on it when we are trying to get people to do tasks that don’t appeal to them.

How to Use Internal and External Motivation

The examples of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation given above explain why both types of motivation are essential and should be in balance. Achieving this is the challenge. Overcoming, it depends on the individual and his or her goals.

Nobody solely depends on either form of motivation.

Both are motivating us at any one time because there are usually aspects of a situation that we enjoy and others that we dislike. It is the best strategy. You’re maximizing your motivation if you want a promotion because you want a pay raise and the challenges that a new job entails. Both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation are at play.

 As mentioned earlier, inherent motivation seems to work best.

No one can rob you of the possibility of success if you are self-motivated. Self-motivated individuals are typically fulfilled and happier than those whose motivation depends on external factors.

For example, if you are a company employee, you will feel contented if you enjoy your job. Then consider your boss, who may only accept the promotion because he needed the money to support his family.

It’s essential to pursue goals that motivate both ways.

Extrinsic motivation increases internal motivation. For example, you hate going to the gym, but do it because you want to lose weight. Shedding pounds is an external motivator, but you may find working out enjoyable because you enjoy the endorphin rush. It’s like chasing after a carrot, but you come to enjoy the process over time.

Too many external rewards, however, can reduce your internal motivation.

It’s always better to be motivated internally than externally. As you try to keep both types of motivation balanced, don’t depend too much on external rewards to keep you moving forward. For example, while a promotion is excellent, it’s essential to enjoy the work first.

In short, a person needs both types of motivation, kept in balance, to attain their goals.


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