Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Differences

What are intrinsic and extrinsic motivation? Why do we do the things that we do? What is driving us?

There are different ways of thinking about motivation, including whether it comes from outside or inside a person.

In addition, successful people know how to motivate themselves effectively.

Our behavior is influenced by intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. To better understand and utilize each accordingly, it will help to learn how each type works.

"You have the power to change your life at any given moment.  Never forget that."  -Undefeated Motivation
“You have the power to change your life at any given moment. Never forget that.” -Undefeated Motivation

What is Extrinsic Motivation?

Extrinsic motivation is when we only perform a behavior or take action in an activity because we want to earn a reward or avoid punishment.

It doesn’t have to be enjoyable, but it is satisfying because you expect something or avoid something.

Extrinsic Motivation Examples

  • Working because you want to earn money.
  • Pursuing a certain degree because you want a lot money.
  • Helping others because you want something from them.
  • Working in a team because you want to achieve big things.
  • Start a business to earn a lot of money and get out of a job.
  • Investing your money because you want to get more money.
  • Studying because you want to get good grades.
"The price of success is high, but so are the rewards."  -Undefeated Motivation
“The price of success is high, but so are the rewards.”

What is Intrinsic Motivation?

Intrinsic motivation is when we only perform a behavior because it is rewarding. Meaning the behavior itself is the reward rather than from some external reward.

Intrinsic Motivation Examples

  • Working because you enjoy your work.
  • Pursuing a certain degree because it’s your passion.
  • Helping others because it feels good inside to do so.
  • Working in a team because you enjoy collabrating.
  • Starting a business because you love what you are doing and what to capitalize on it.
  • Investing your money because you enjoy doing it.
  • Studying because you are curious about it.
"When you do not seek or need external approval, you are at your most powerful." -Caroline Myss  -Undefeated Motivation
“When you do not seek or need external approval, you are at your most powerful.” -Caroline Myss

Is Extrinsic or Intrinsic Motivator better?

Intrinsic motivation comes from inside us, and on the other hand, extrinsic motivation comes from external factors.

Both types can be effective, however, extrinsic rewards should be used less for certain scenarios. When offering excessive external rewards for an already internally rewarding behavior can lead to a reduction in intrinsic motivation, or also known as the overjustification effect.

Extrinsic motivators should be avoided in situations like when the activity itself is intrinsically rewarding or when it’s time to have fun or play.

On the contrary, extrinsic motivation can be extremely beneficial to complete a task that is unpleasant.

"The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it."  -Mother Teresa  -Undefeated Motivation
“The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.” -Mother Teresa

When to Apply External Motivation

It is a myth to think intrinsic motivation is best for every possible situation.

Of course, extrinsic motivators can be very useful tools when they are used appropriately. For instance, when a work task needs to be completed.

Still, extrinsic rewards can influence intrinsic motivation.

  • First, external rewards will decrease intrinsic motivation when given for completing a specific task or doing minimal work.
  • Second, internal motivation can increase from praise.
  • An exception is that unexpected external rewards won’t decrease intrinsic motivation.
"Life is like a garden, you reap what you sow."  -Paulo Coelho  -Undefeated Motivation
“Life is like a garden, you reap what you sow.” -Paulo Coelho

On the whole, understanding how both extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation works can really be useful in performing mundane tasks and improve in different areas of interest.

Both types can drive human behavior with external rewards or the person’s genuine interest.

Like these quotes? Get more daily on your newsfeed at the Undefeated Motivation FB page or Undefeated Motivation IG page.