Do You Want to Increase Your Intrinsic Motivation?

Dale’s leisure pursuit of collecting toy race cars has always been a mystery to me. I could not imagine how a sane human person would dutifully expend an hour per day just to shine his almost 300 toy cars. The way Dale cleans his toy cars as if he was taking a bath is nothing short of amusing. To Dale, every toy car in his collection was a fragile artwork demanding nothing less but utmost care. Another odd but rather striking thing about Dale and his love for toy cars is the way he stares at the window of the vehicle station-his expression simply spells utter amusement and passion.

Dale loves cars so much that he can point blankly tell the difference between cars just by the mere mention of the car model. Another extraordinary, though somewhat lavish thing about Dale is how much bucks he throws away for his beloved cars. One time, Dale saved 80% of his weekly allowance for sheer desire to buy the latest Let’s go toy car model. Can you imagine that? But the money he spends is nothing compared to the time and effort he invests in his toy car collection. Dale practically assembles and disassembles at least 2 cars each day! No wonder he can assemble 50 of his toy cars without breaking a sweat! My oh My!

My curiosity got the best of me one day, so I asked Dale why he goes to such lengths for his toy cars. And I was surprised with his reply-“I just love toy cars!” And that’s just it.

Hobbies exemplify intrinsic motivation. Malone and Lepper defines intrinsic motivation as “what people will do without external inducement”. That is to say that intrinsic motivation is motivation without any external or outside rewards like money or grades. An individual with intrinsic motivation does a task for pure pleasure and satisfaction created by doing and/or completing the task. But this doesn’t mean that an individual will not seek rewards if he has intrinsic motivation. In fact, the intrinsically motivated person is aware of the perquisite of rewards, only that, rewards are deficient in maintaining his motivation. Put simply, an individual with intrinsic motivation will carry on in the task, for as long as he/she is interested or believes in it. Making someone’s values equivalent to yours is the same as giving that person an inner craving for the idea or value. You give that person intrinsic motivation. Also, intrinsic motivation lasts longer than extrinsic motivation as the desires take time to be repressed.

Here is a list of things you need to consider if you want to increase yours or another’s intrinsic motivation:

1) Make it a challenge. Challenges don’t just define a person’s interest, it also fuels the blazing bush of passion! Challenges attend to the psychological need for competence.. In the 1970’s, Akio Morita challenged his chief engineers to make a hi-fi device no larger than a block of wood. This propelled the imagination of the engineers-and so the walkman was born.

2) Boredom–it is the foe of intrinsic motivation. The moment an idea or task spells droning and common, the pleasure in doing the task is flushed in the toilet.

3) Purpose—Work becomes more than just eye candy when we feel we are achieving something. You might take pleasure in designing a website—but you get puffed up up when it’s the website of something you value-your favorite band, your class, or the person you admire in school.

4) Extrinsic motivation underpins intrinsic motivation. A Math enthusiast will be more motivated to decipher an exemption problem in the final exam. A caution– an excess of external rewards will ultimately blotch the individual’s intrinsic motivation. If the Math enthusiast mentioned above is ceaselessly given merits for his Mathematical competence, there will come a day when his love for Math will be substituted by a love for good grades.

You want to increase your intrinsic motivation? Then think about the aforementioned and this: intrinsic motivation subsists only when there is an ingrained interest.

So if you want to be intrinsically motivated, I suggest you plant that seed of interest or belief in what you are supposed to do. The wonders of intrinsic motivation will then follow.