The Importance of Internal Motivation
What is your main source of motivation? This is something we don’t ask ourselves enough.
The answer to this question varies dramatically and can be the reason someone does or does not succeed in whatever it is they wish to pursue. So, why do you go to school everyday? Is it because you have to? Because you need a basic education? If you have a ‘cuz I have to’ attitude, that’s the very reason you’re not engaging, not enjoying, and not succeeding in you academics, and that applies to more than just school. Everyone has a dream, whether it’s to become a professional athlete, a doctor, or just to finish the school year with good marks, we all have one.Serious or silly, longterm or short-term, all of our dreams end in success. However, many people don’t find the success they seek and are left feeling unhappy and unfulfilled.
So why is this? Motivation is the key to success, unless it’s the wrong kind of motivation… in which case I suppose it’s more like the key to failure. Motivation falls into two main categories, internal and external, also called intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is often based upon external motivators such as rewards, prizes, and punishments. Intrinsic motivation is to strive inwardly to thrive at something and to reward yourself internally. The motivation comes from within you rather than being imposed upon you by external factors. Do you have good grades because your parents push you to and reward you for it or because they’re important to you? Do you play sports for the trophy or for the enjoyment? If you aren’t doing it for your own pleasure, you’re being externally motivated.
When these motivators aren’t around anymore, what is going to push you to be successful? High school is when being internally motivated really starts to count. When teenagers enter high school, their parents only have so much influence on their actions and teachers aren’t going to chase after us for work. If you want to do well in school, you have to make the decision for yourself to study, to participate, and to do your homework.High school is only four years, for those of us who decide to attend university, our parent’s won’t be by our side to clean our room, to encourage us to study and to maintain a high average. If you decide not to go to university, it’s all on you to find a job and earn a living.
You can’t become successful by slacking off. But what is success? The definition of success is another thing that varies depending on source of motivation, and money is where most people find their external motivation after moving away from their parents. A completely internally motivated person cares more about their own happiness than the amount of money they earn, and while it’s unrealistic to ask you to not care at all about the money you make, it’s good to have that mindset when choosing a career when the time comes. Being intrinsically motivated comes from an interest in an area and a desire to continue and strive in it. If you chose a career you aren’t interested in, you will be working hard but at the end of the day will never find complete satisfaction in what you are doing. Intrinsic motivation isn’t something we are born with, it is something developed and earned.
In order to become internally motivated, you must learn to be independent and find things you are interested in. Do whatever it is that makes you happy and surround yourself by things that interest you. This is the best way to find your own internal motivation and push yourself toward mastery. Ultimately, both internal and external motivators can have a strong influence on our actions. The major difference, however, between the two, is that internal motivators will in the end get you places that external motivators can’t and won’t. To achieve your goals, you must find motivation from within.
Find your passion and immerse yourself in it because the direction of others and the rewards you receive are not a substitute for your own self pride. As the wise Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right” .