Some days, we just don’t feel inspired. A number of things can get in the way — perhaps we don’t get enough sleep or our minds focus on a problem outside of the task at hand. Whatever it is, we could do with a bit of motivation to get the job done and move on with our lives.
Fortunately, we don’t have to sit around and wait for that encouraging feeling to strike. Instead, we can find motivation within ourselves or from the outside world and put it to use as we see fit. Here are four common causes for motivation, and how to take advantage of each one:
Those with extrinsic motivation find their “why” in an external factor. This can be broken down further into positive and negative extrinsic motivation. In the case of the former, we’re inspired by the possibility of a positive outcome for our actions, such as a reward or recognition.
On the other hand, we sometimes act a certain way because of the threat of retribution. We can think of speed limits as an example here — we typically adhere to them because of the threat of a ticket if we don’t.
It’s pretty clear how we can use an extrinsic motivator to our advantage. Once we feel the spark of excitement that comes with a potential reward, or the lingering fear of a negative outcome, we’re likely to act on our extrinsic motivation.
Now that we know what extrinsic motivation is, it’s easy to guess what intrinsic means. We garner intrinsic motivation from within ourselves — we want to do better, so we do our best to make that happen.
Often, extrinsic and intrinsic motivation go hand in hand. For instance, perhaps a workplace leader announces a program to incentivize the sales team to improve their numbers. At first, team members have an extrinsic motivator — they want to win the incentive. But in order to make that a reality, they have to employ an intrinisic motivator, too. They will want to do better because of the external incentive, the reward. We shouldn’t be afraid to let an extrinsic factor spur our internal motivation.
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For some of us, motivation comes from the opportunity to grow and change. This relates similarly to intrinsic motivation, but change-centric people find inspiration in things that make them feel good or better about themselves without the promise of any sort of reward or recognition.
An easy example of this would be people who volunteer their free time for a charity cause — they donate their time not because they expect to get something in return, but because it makes them feel amazing.
Growth is a great motivator because it can be not only rewarding but renewing. For many people, a lack of motivation comes from burnout, whether it be from work, their personal lives or both. So, spending time volunteering or participating in another growth-related activity will leave us feeling refreshed and ready to do more.
Finally, we might derive our motivation from those around us. More specifically, social motivation drives us to do our best to fit in with a particular group. This can be good or bad. Sometimes, we need to break out of our shells, socialize and become part of a group. Other times, though, social pressure can push us to make choices we normally wouldn’t make.
Social motivation can help us when we feel as though we don’t have motivation at all. Sometimes, we feel a loss of motivation because we’re depressed or tired. But finding a social group whose behaviors or interests we want to emulate can help push us out of a rut.
Even if we eventually go onto forge our own paths, using social motivation to pull ourselves from a lag in feel-good vibes can be a great thing.
Motivation is vital in getting us through our day-to-day responsibilities, whether we’re at work or at home. The above are just four of the many ways we come to inspire ourselves. What pushes you to succeed? Figure it out and use that path to your advantage — then, watch as the successes start to roll in.
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Also published on Medium.
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