Who are you trying to impress? Thoughts on motivation.

You see the cliff and maybe you want to jump. But why do you want to?

Have you ever felt driven to achieve something just to impress someone? Do you sometimes feel motivated just to prove something, not to yourself, but someone else?

We are motivated in two kinds of ways: Intrinsically and Extrinsically.

Intrinsic motivation is, in short, built in motivation. It’s the kind of motivation that gets you to the gym, not to look good for someone else, but because you love the feeling you get from exercising. It’s the motivation that gets you up in the morning, not because you are scared of being late for work and getting fired, but because you’re looking forward to a specific part of your day.

Extrinsic motivation is when you are motivated by something outside of yourself. When you tell someone you did something, looking for acknowledgement because you believe that person’s opinion of you to be valuable. When you post to social media looking for that dopamine hit from seeing your latest collection of hashtags and filters getting liked and commented on by others, enhancing your perceived social capital.

Sometimes the things that motivate us can get mixed up, Intrinsic is not always good and Extrinsic is not always bad. Addictions are intrinsic motivators and some people , such as sociopaths and psychopaths, who could potentially pose a danger to those around them, can be extrinsically motivated to be perceived as ‘good’ or following the rules of society because of the opinions of others.

The key thing here is that, regardless of whether we are motivated Intrinsically or Extrinsically, we need to understand what we are motivated by. Are you motivated by things that are potentially egotistical? It’s important to think about and to try and adjust or develop our thinking about motivation to make it work better for ourselves, rather than us working for someone or something else


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