Motivation can come from the world outside ourselves, or from our own way of thinking about ourselves and the world.

Extrinsic motivation may come from positive events, such as receiving praise and potential or actual reward for a job well done, but it can also come from negative events, such as punishment for an action – like getting a ticket for speeding, or losing your phone for a week for not cleaning your room.

Intrinsic motivations may include the feeling of pleasure we have when seeing our work and knowing we have done well, or may cause us to behave in a way that helps us avoid negative feelings such as anger, or the guilt which may happen when we are aware that our actions have hurt others.

In teaching children to value appropriate behaviour, we first start with extrinsic rewards or punishments, such as praise, gaining points or stars towards a desired goal for helping at home, or losing privileges for misbehaving.  As children grow and mature, they often internalise the pleasure gained and as adults may enjoy knowing they have created a tidy home for themselves without anyone having to reward them.  Equally, they may recall the discomfort they experienced through losing something they valued, and desire to avoid that feeling by avoiding behaviours which may lead to loss or pain.

Put simply, extrinsic motivators focus on factors outside ourselves, while intrinsic ones come from within.

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Denise Hand

Words are my thing. I place them with care into conversations which crystallise understanding, illuminate unconscious emotions and allow their emergence into the freedom of expression. I get my buzz from seeing that light bulb moment, that awakening of awareness to the realisation that reality is our own construct, and that we can have hope and happiness no matter what our circumstances.

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