Updated: Mar 7, 2022
What motivates you? Do you know? When is the last time you stopped to think about it? Are you driven by money, obligation to family, potential for fun, freedom, power over others?
Each and every one of us has powerful unconscious factors that drive us to do what we do every single day. The question is are you the driver or are you being driven? Are you the one in charge of the direction in which you are headed, or have you unknowingly handed over the wheel to others? The first can give you a sense of power, of purpose, and of self-fulfillment. The second can leave you feeling drained, purposeless, and resentful of the people around you.
Today’s brief discussion is on intrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation is the cleanest, most concentrated fuel you could possibly burn. It is the ideal place from which to make decisions and to set the course for your day, week, or year. There are three elements to intrinsic motivation: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. These are the same elements I referenced in our previous discussion here.
Competence is simple. It’s knowing where you excel, executing flawlessly, and delegating the rest. How much energy do you burn spinning your wheels, either trying to muddle through something that’s really “not your thing”, or feeling like you have to do everything yourself? Again, know what you are best at—where you absolutely shine—and delegate (or dispose of) the rest.
Autonomy is having the clarity and right to choose your own values instead of having them forced on you by community. Community includes spouses and significant others, people at work, friends, and even churches and religious groups. How much of what you do is for others and is done under duress? How much of it is based on your own closely held values and beliefs? Are your sacrifices voluntary and part of a mutually beneficial relationship? Do you enjoy giving, or do you feel more coerced, like you are being taken advantage of? Only you can answer these questions.
Relatedness is having a sense of relating to and alignment with the group with which you identify, the work you do, or the activities that occupy your time. When operating from this space of alignment, you are acting with true integrity, a state in which all parts—you mind, body, and spirit are integrated and in agreement with what you are doing.
Ask yourself, what’s driving me today?
PS: What’s extrinsic motivation? Glad you asked. Stay tuned.