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Intrinsic Motivation vs Extrinsic Motivation: Understanding Motivation Spectrum


Motivation is a key driver for human behavior, and it can come from many different sources. Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation are two broad categories that help us understand how people are motivated. The motivation spectrum describes how motivation can exist on a continuum between these two types, highlighting the complexity and diversity of human motivation. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and what the motivation spectrum means for our understanding of motivation.

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What is Intrinsic Motivation?


What is Intrinsic motivation? Intrinsic motivation refers to the internal drive and desire to engage in an activity for its own sake, rather than for external rewards or incentives.
Intrinsic motivation definition

Intrinsic motivation definition: refers to the type of motivation that comes from within a person. It is driven by personal interest, enjoyment, and satisfaction in the activity itself. When someone is intrinsically motivated, they engage in the activity for the sake of the activity itself, rather than for any external reward or recognition.


Examples of intrinsic motivation include pursuing a hobby for personal enjoyment, playing a sport for the love of the game, or creating art for self-expression. Intrinsic motivation tends to be more long-lasting and self-sustaining than extrinsic motivation, as it is driven by a sense of personal fulfillment and satisfaction.


10 Intrinsic Motivation Examples

  1. Mastery: The desire to improve oneself and gain new knowledge or skills in a particular area.

  2. Autonomy: The desire to have control over one's own actions and decisions.

  3. Purpose: The desire to work towards a meaningful goal or cause that aligns with one's values.

  4. Curiosity: The desire to learn and explore new things for its own sake.

  5. Challenge: The desire to take on difficult tasks and push oneself to overcome obstacles.

  6. Recognition: The desire for acknowledgment and positive feedback from others.

  7. Creativity: The desire to express oneself and generate new ideas or solutions.

  8. Personal Growth: The desire to develop and evolve as an individual.

  9. Connection: The desire to establish and maintain meaningful relationships with others.

  10. Fun: The desire to engage in enjoyable activities that bring pleasure and satisfaction.


What is Extrinsic Motivation?

Extrinsic motivation definition

Extrinsic motivation definition: Extrinsic motivation on the other hand, comes from external factors or sources outside of the person. It is driven by rewards, recognition, or punishment. When someone is extrinsically motivated, they engage in the activity for the sake of some external outcome, rather than for the activity itself.


Examples of extrinsic motivation include working for a salary, studying for grades or academic honors, or participating in a competition for a prize or award. Extrinsic motivation tends to be more short-term and dependent on external factors than intrinsic motivation, as it is driven by the desire to attain some external reward or avoid some external punishment.


10 Extrinsic Motivation Examples

  1. Money: The desire to earn a salary or receive financial rewards for work done.

  2. Recognition: The desire for praise or awards from others.

  3. Promotion: The desire for career advancement and higher job status.

  4. Competition: The desire to outperform others and win prizes or awards.

  5. Job security: The desire to maintain employment and receive benefits.

  6. Deadlines: The pressure of meeting deadlines can motivate some individuals.

  7. Punishment: The fear of negative consequences or punishment can motivate individuals to perform certain tasks.

  8. Threats: The fear of losing one's job or being reprimanded can motivate individuals.

  9. Public opinion: The desire to please others or maintain a certain reputation can motivate some individuals.

  10. Grades: The desire to receive good grades or academic recognition can motivate students to study and perform well in school.


Motivation Spectrum

The motivation spectrum is a concept that recognizes that motivation can exist on a continuum between purely intrinsic and purely extrinsic. Many activities or goals may have both intrinsic and extrinsic factors that motivate a person to pursue them. For example, a musician may be intrinsically motivated by the love of playing music, but also extrinsically motivated by the desire to earn money from their performances.


Understanding the motivation spectrum can help us better understand our own motivation and that of others. It can also help us create environments that foster intrinsic motivation, such as by providing opportunities for personal growth, creativity, and autonomy.


Check out Ali Abdaal's youtube video about "why you struggle to stay motivated?"


20 Real Life Tips to Stay Motivated

  1. Set clear and achievable goals for yourself.

  2. Create a routine and stick to it.

  3. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people.

  4. Take breaks and allow yourself time to rest.

  5. Use a habit tracking app to monitor progress towards your goals, download Insumo here: App Store Link, Google Play Store Link.

  6. Celebrate your small successes along the way.

  7. Find a mentor or role model to guide and inspire you.

  8. Visualize the end result and imagine how it will feel when you achieve it.

  9. Break large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.

  10. Practice self-care activities like exercise, meditation, or mindfulness.

  11. Use positive affirmations and self-talk to boost your confidence.

  12. Read motivational books or listen to inspiring podcasts.

  13. Create a vision board or inspiration wall to keep yourself motivated.

  14. Reflect on your progress and adjust your goals as needed.

  15. Stay organized and use tools like calendars or to-do lists to stay on track.

  16. Use rewards as a way to motivate yourself for completing tasks or reaching goals.

  17. Stay accountable by sharing your goals with others or joining a support group.

  18. Focus on the process rather than the outcome, and enjoy the journey.

  19. Avoid procrastination and take action towards your goals every day.

  20. Remind yourself of your "why" - the reason you started and the purpose behind your goals.

Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation are two broad categories that help us understand how people are motivated. The motivation spectrum describes how motivation can exist on a continuum between these two types, highlighting the complexity and diversity of human motivation. By understanding the different types of motivation and where they fall on the motivation spectrum, we can create environments that foster intrinsic motivation and help people achieve their goals.


Check out our blog about Investing in Your Productivity

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