Intrinsic Motivation; the sense of satisfaction that comes during or after a task is complete is fleeting at best, and rare most of the time. Running is one of the few tasks that I am able to perform that depend solely on intrinsic motivation.
The pleasure is in the experience of the run. Muscles straining are a reminder of humanness. Pain and pleasure have to find a way to harmoniously coexist in one entity. And the motivation to continue running is all within. No external rewards can sustain the consistency of frequently working out. It is purely within.
We have become an incentive based culture dependent on knowing what we will get before we perform a task. This would explain why my seven year old manages to look crushed every time he asks me with not a little hope, what he will get when he picks up his toys and I break it to him that he will “feel great” about it. Disbelieving and resigned, he sets off to do the task that is supposed to make him feel good.
Intrinsic motivation is fleeting, difficult to sustain, not tangible. And because it is difficult to sustain, a person has to work hard to develop the ability to perform a task without always thinking of external rewards. Once intrinsic motivation becomes part of your personality, tasks will be performed better. The need for external recognition will no longer be a necessary ingredient for your optimal performance.
Time lost is never recovered. Why spend time doing something without feeling good about it? Being present for tasks is one way to be intrinsically motivated. What this means is to be present in the task so that you can perform it to the best of your ability. When being present, you are being present to the time that would otherwise be lost.
Our attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards us. This John Mitchell quote really is the foundation for intrinsic motivation. How you approach tasks will determine how motivated you will be and whether you will be present in the task. Deciding to have a positive attitude will create the template for how you will deal with a given task.
Practice! Practice! Practice! The ability to be present, and have a positive attitude need to be practiced so as to have intrinsic motivation. Without practice, the motivation to do things using the best of your ability is going to be fleeting. Practicing to do the best you can will be he only way to maintain the internal motivation.
Have an intrinsically motivated day!
- The 40-Year Debate on Motivation (psychologytoday.com)
- Motivation: The Why’s of Behavior (psychologytoday.com)
- Intrinsic Motivation and Penn State Football Scandal (psychologytoday.com)
- I (am) NOT STUPID just UNMOTIVATED (mmselsectionc.wordpress.com)