“If I were living in a Marxist dictatorship where every job paid equally, this is the work I would choose.”
– Intrinsically Motivated Manager
Motives drive behaviour. Motivations shape the action hierarchies that determine where you focus energy. The motives for rooting a behaviour are different from the spark of inspiration that spurred the initial change. Ongoing motivation usually means finding a way to enjoy the new behaviour.
There are two types of motivation, the first is intrinsic: doing something simply because it is interesting or challenging; the second is extrinsic: doing something in return for an abstract reward. Intrinsic motivation encourages high-level creativity. Intrinsic motivation is for the satisfaction of the work itself and not for an external reward. We are not alone, in the animal kingdom, when it comes to being playful and curious. Many animals engage in behaviour that is unconnected to external rewards such as food or sex.
In the business world, intrinsic motivation is highly valuable because it produces the best results.
Our instinctive system is naturally exploratory. This is a major reason for mind wandering. We constantly scan our environment for fresh challenges to overcome and stretch our limits so that we can improve the accuracy of our mental map. This is the SEEKING system. The challenge journey is what fulfils people. We have a fundamental desire to improve.
- Balcetis, E. & Dunning, D. (2006). See what you want to see: Motivational influences on visual perception. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 165-178. doi:10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.522
- Balcetis, E. & Dunning, D. (2010). Wishful seeing: More desired objects are seen as closer. Psychological Science, 21, 147-152. doi:10.1177/0956797609356283
- Custers, R., & Aarts, H. (2010). The unconscious will: How the pursuit of goals operates outside of conscious awareness. Science, 329, 47-50. doi:10.1126/science.1188595
- Veltkamp, M., Aarts, H. & Custers, R. (2008).Perception in the service of goal pursuit: Motivation to attain goals enhances the perceived size of goal-instrumental objects. Social Cognition, 26, 720-736. doi:10.1521/soco.2008.26.6.720