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Let’s talk about the motivation that drives us to take on various challenges. By aligning our goals with genuine reasons, we not only foster engagement but also bolster determination. In the long run, understanding the fundamentals of motivation will be crucial for systematic professional and personal development.

When we understand our ‘why’, the way to the goal becomes more meaningful. This perspective isn’t just a philosophical statement but is deeply rooted in the self-determination theory, which posits that people are inherently oriented towards development.

Selecting the right goals for the right reasons is a game-changer, defining the difference between fleeting enthusiasm and sustained determination. When our goals resonate with our core values and beliefs, we are not only more engaged but also more persistent in our efforts.

There are two primary forms of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation is when the act itself becomes the reward. This form of motivation is linked to job satisfaction, increased engagement, proactivity, and a protective shield against burnout. I can compare it to a high-performance, top-class engine. I wish that we would be driven by this form of motivation as often as possible.

Conversely, extrinsic motivation is fueled by, yes…, external influences. This includes ‘identification’ – aligning with overarching values, where even if the activity isn’t inherently enjoyable, it resonates with our broader aspirations, leading to greater engagement.
Another subtype is ‘introjection’, where we internally compel ourselves, safeguarding our ego and self-worth; while this can bolster job performance, it’s a double-edged sword, escalating stress and burnout risks.
Lastly, ‘external regulation’ is motivation steered solely by external factors (rewards), like fame or monetary gains. Relying purely on financial incentives has been shown to yield the least favourable outcomes, especially in the long term.

Being aware of the various sources of motivation is a kind of reminder to be selective in the actions we undertake. It’s not easy, but gradually we can transform the path to our chosen goals (and thus our daily life) so that instead of being a duty, it becomes a source of joy. It’s worth it for us to focus as often as possible on taking actions that resonate with our values and bring pleasure.

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