Who are you living for? By this I mean – are you living according your values and beliefs or are you blurring your personal boundaries by living according to what society and others expect from you?
It is important to make this distinction as there are two types of motivation. One will lead to greater fulfillment whilst the other one won’t.
The first type, the one that leads to a greater sense of personal fulfillment is intrinsic motivation. This refers to motivation that comes from inside an individual rather than from any external source – such as money, grades or approval from others. This relates to the second type of motivation (extrinsic).
The motivation comes from the pleasure one gets from the task itself or from the sense of satisfaction in completing or working on a task.
Intrinsic = pleasure
Extrinsic = reward
When going ahead with a task, check where the basic motivation lies. This is a good start to figuring out why you feel fulfilled or unfulfilled.
Do you live your life for others in order to get their approval or do you support others due to the sheer pleasure that you get from giving? Do you chase material gains for the money or is the money a by-product of a job you love doing?
Motivation tends to be more persistent when it is of an intrinsic nature. Social Psychological research has indicated that extrinsic rewards can lead to overjustification and a subsequent reduction in intrinsic motivation. In one study, children who expected to be (and were) rewarded with a ribbon and a gold star for drawing pictures spent less time playing with the drawing materials in subsequent observations than children who were assigned to an unexpected reward.
Intrinsic motivation is in line with self-determination theory (for those of you that want to read further) and more info can be obtained on extrinsic/intrinsic motivation by reading up on: Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory.
So, in summary – figure out where the basis for your motivation to do things is coming from. Is it true to you or is it due to societal conditioning?
Analysing the type of motivation before moving forward can make all the difference…