Do you ever struggle to get out of bed? Whether we easily get out of bed depends on our plans for the rest of the day. Some tasks we enjoy more than others and we are therefore more motivated to do. But do we genuinely need to accept this as an innate feature of life? The short answer is no. If we design our lives intelligently, we can make laziness or procrastination a thing from the past. To do so, we need to understand how motivation works.
Extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.
Motivation comes in two types: extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. While extrinsic motivation is influenced by your surroundings, intrinsic motivation is what motivates you from within. And as for all things in life it’s about finding the right balance.
One might say extrinsic motivation is like craving junk food. It tastes great at the moment; you’ll feel bad afterwards and you’ll never have enough. Extrinsic motivation is doing something we do not like to get something else. It’s like working extra hours to buy a new sportscar. A means to an end. Once we achieve our goal, we tend to see something even better. And so, our focus shifts from one thing to the next leaving us forever dissatisfied.
When we do something we intrinsically enjoy, we enjoy the act instead of just the reward. It’s like connecting with people, doing sports or taking part in volunteer work. You might not get something in reward, but the does not matter because the act itself is the reward. And is that not worth more than a boost in temporary happiness? Like buying a new iPhone, knowing that in a few months there will be a better model.
While we get too caught up with these extrinsic rewards, we forget to enjoy the most important things in life. Think about this: what is the promotion worth if you have no one to share the achievement with? Because you were so caught up with the work you forgot to connect with the people you were close with. As the saying goes “it’s lonely at the top.” But know it doesn’t need to be like that. It’s a choice that’s up to you. Will you spend all your time focusing on ‘shiny objects’, or are you going to spent time on things that makes you genuinely happy?
Extrinsic goals have their place in life but do not forget to do things you intrinsically enjoy. Do not fall into the trap of spending your days doing things you hate to get an extrinsic reward. You will just want something better the next day. Work for your extrinsic goals by doing things you intrinsically like and no one can stop you. In life we tend to look back and realize things could’ve been better, too late. Set your goals, and ask yourself: will my next task be junk food for my soul?
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