Are you motivated more internally, externally, or both equivalently?

  • Thread starter Loren Booda
  • Start date
In summary: I think it's important to have both internal and external motivations to do well, as different things will motivate you at different times. In summary, academics are typically motivated both internally and externally, but when it comes to achieving a goal, the external motivator (money) matters more.
  • #1
Loren Booda
3,125
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Are you motivated more internally, externally, or both equivalently?
 
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  • #2
well -- being an academic and marrying one... saying I was completely motivated externally would be a bit of a farse. I am, however, motivated by coffee and doughnuts.
 
  • #3
physics girl phd
I am, however, motivated by coffee and doughnuts
Internally (seriously), externally (farcically), or both equivalently?:wink:
 
  • #4
Internally. I prove this with a conversation I had with my math teacher once when we were talking about my bad handwriting (Ok, this isn't how it went, but it makes for a good quote). My approximate response to his complaint:
"I do math so I can read it, not so you can"

Damnit! I wish I said that. Oh well, when my new tutors complain, I have one up my sleeve
 
  • #5
Loren Booda said:
Are you motivated more internally, externally, or both equivalently?
More internally.

Accomplishing something I didn't think I was really qualified to do is more rewarding than any reward or prestige.

What others think (who I'm working for, in particular) matters, as well, even if not quite as much. If everyone else felt something I did was impressive, it's hard not to list that as a pretty significant accomplishment even if it wasn't all that difficult.

The best accomplishments satisfy both my internal criteria plus being significant enough to get external attention.
 
  • #6
Not only am I not self-motivated, it's damned difficult for anyone else to get me moving either.
 
  • #7
For me it depends on the task, if its something I don't really want to do, you'll half to bribe me.
 
  • #8
I'd say 50-50. No one is completely internally motivated, due to the fact in some hierarachy of needs (whether you completely agree with Maslow's pyramid or not) we need food, socialization, etc... So while I think I'm more internally motivated than perhaps the majority of people in our very materialistic society, yeah -- I REALLY like doughnuts.
 
  • #9
I'm not sure what external motivation would mean. Motivation has to come from within, doesn't it? I think all that differs for some people is what rewards they are motivated to seek. I think it's the reward that can be internal or external...self-satisfaction of a job well done, or someone noticing that job well done and giving you a raise. I'd have a hard time believing there's anyone who finds it to always be rewarding just to be satisfied with their own job if they never receive recognition from someone else. Some may have more tolerance than others, but at some point, you're going to have a hard time continuing to motivate yourself to do something if you never get any sort of external reward (recognition) for it.

*tosses physics girl a doughnut* :biggrin:

The last place I worked had a beer and doughnuts hour every Friday afternoon as a way to get people to socialize before the end of the week, until people realized that beer and doughnuts really don't go well together, so it became just a beer hour.

I've come to realize we're paying our grad students too well with their current stipends, though. It's getting harder to use food as a reward to get them to come to things...apparently they can afford their own food now! It's completely unacceptable! :devil:
 
  • #10
Moonbear said:
I'm not sure what external motivation would mean.
I think that would be like falling off a mountain, or in my case, out of a tree or off a roof, i.e. one is forced into a situation.

Moonbear said:
The last place I worked had a beer and doughnuts hour every Friday afternoon as a way to get people to socialize before the end of the week, until people realized that beer and doughnuts really don't go well together, so it became just a beer hour.
Guinness goes well with doughnuts or pecan pie.

For me, I have way to much motivation and I have to pick and choose.

Right now I'm probably overly committed, and there is more coming at me. Just had in inquiry if I would be interested in joining the faculty of a university. I'm going to have to turn it down.
 
  • #11
For me, it's about 2/3 internal and 1/3 external. The main external motivator is money, as in stock options at a startup company helping to motivate you to work 70-80 hour weeks, with the financial reward of a successful IPO as the motivational reward.

I've always been strongly internally motivated to do my best in whatever I do. I remember an HP recruiter talking to a group of us in Undergrad -- he used the phrase "Goal-oriented acheiver" to describe himself and the people that he was looking for. When I heard that phrase, I said to myself, "Yeah, that's a good way to put it. That describes me pretty well."

If you're a goal-oriented acheiver, you are mainly internally motivated, IMO.
 
  • #12
Moonbear said:
The last place I worked had a beer and doughnuts hour every Friday afternoon as a way to get people to socialize before the end of the week, until people realized that beer and doughnuts really don't go well together, so it became just a beer hour.
Wow! They can re-use the same doughnuts each week!
 
  • #13
Moonbear said:
I'm not sure what external motivation would mean.
I would say e.g. the abusive upbringings of some child prodigies.

berkeman said:
The main external motivator is money, as in stock options at a startup company helping to motivate you to work 70-80 hour weeks, with the financial reward of a successful IPO as the motivational reward.
Dang... if I knew what all that meant, I'm sure I'd be in a much better position than the one I am in presently.
 
  • #14
Who's motivated? Isn't that why were're here?

"Procrastination is my middle name, but the rest of the world is ahead of the game..." - Utopia
 
  • #15
twisting_edge said:
"Procrastination is my middle name, but the rest of the world is ahead of the game..." - Utopia
I'm not usually big on posting song lyrics, but having just written that last one, I couldn't resist. There's a fantastic wobbling crack in his voice from incipient panic on the last word of each verse.

Won't somebody give me a ride?
I've been out of gas for hours.
My mother-in-law's flying in from the coast,
She's prob'ly in an ambulance by now!

Come on honey, give me a chance
I promise to mend my ways
Let's go out for an anniversary dance
You say our anniversary's yesterday?

There's more to it, I think, but not much.

[edited to add] I just listened to that album again for the first time in years (1998?). There's actually some very good music on it, just as I remembered. But there is no Quaver of Incipient Doom in the vocals: that was apparently my addition to the song when I would sing it. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to get that same effect now. I do have a bit of a cold, though. Perhaps that would explain it.
 
Last edited:

1. What does it mean to be motivated internally?

Motivation that comes from within oneself, such as personal goals, values, or interests.

2. What is external motivation?

Motivation that comes from outside sources, such as rewards, recognition, or pressure from others.

3. Can someone be motivated both internally and externally?

Yes, it is possible for someone to be motivated by both internal and external factors. For example, a person may have a personal interest in a project (internal motivation) but also be motivated by the potential for a bonus (external motivation).

4. How do I know if I am motivated internally or externally?

You can determine your motivation by reflecting on what drives you to take action. If it is primarily driven by your own personal desires and goals, it is likely internal motivation. If it is primarily driven by external rewards or consequences, it is likely external motivation.

5. Is one type of motivation better than the other?

It depends on the individual and the situation. Internal motivation can lead to a stronger sense of fulfillment and satisfaction, while external motivation can provide tangible rewards and external validation. Both types of motivation can be effective depending on the individual's goals and values.

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