Intrinsic Motivation

During a course on Gamification that I have been attending recently, the professor talks about different kinds of motivation – extrinsic and intrinsic. I found the classification of the motivation to be very insightful and structured. Extrinsic motivation is when we are motivated by external factors, such as rewards, a feeling of social obligation, if you will or even when you are forced to do something although you don’t quite believe in the task. Intrinsic motivation is when one feels good doing a task by himself/ herself only because he/ she likes it.

Of course, the best kind of motivation is intrinsic. If we were to have a team that is full of folks like Anil Kumble in cricket or Lebron James in basketball, then it is safe to assume that that team would be the most efficient and excellent team in whatever task they do. Both the stars in their respective sports are known to be very hard working and appear to be intrinsically motivated to be the best that they can be in their sport. But in reality, a team is not made of only such individuals but is a mix of different kinds of people. Some are driven by the rewards that they would get on achieving success, some others are low in confidence and need encouragement ever so often. Each person is different and his/ her requirements and motivations are different.

Just as managing oneself is paramount before managing others, it is more important to motivate the self and ensure the levels of motivation and will are high all the time. To do that, a high degree of self awareness is a must. Only when one is aware of what is important to them will they be able to identify the motivating factors. It becomes easy when you pursue the one thing that truly exhilarates you – which gets you in “the zone”. Sportspersons will identify with that feeling, Chris Gayle was in it just last evening when he scored his 175* off just 66 balls in a T20 match in the IPL season VI. Everything that he hit went exactly where he wanted it to go. He could do as he wished with the bowling attack. A quote by Andre Agassi comes to mind where he talks about seeing only the ball. The crowd, the ball boys, the referee are all blacked out and all that he can see is the ball. In that mind space, nothing can affect you. If you are in the profession or job where you can get into that kind of a state, you are intrinsically motivated.

Residing in Bengaluru, I am a Techie by profession and a thinker and doer by birth. I muse about any topic under the sun and love to share my thoughts in print when I am not doing something with them. I love reading and at some point, thought that maybe others would like to read what I have to write, too!

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