As humans, none of us are solely motivated by internal or external factors. Instead, we’re all motivated by a mix of internal and external motivations.
The most common external motivator we see in people is money. But people also work for the self satisfaction they get for themselves for a job well done, which is an example of an internal motivator.
Internal motivation, or self motivation, therefore becomes a crucial component for success in life, and is a big part of what makes a successful individual.
In the book “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth,” John C. Maxwell says,
“The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation. Just do it. Exercise, lose weight, test your blood sugar, or whatever. Do it without motivation. And then, guess what? After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it.”
John C. Maxwell is talking about the idea of intrinsic motivation, the motivation that gets us off the couch.
Unfortunately, very few things that we set out to do in life are rarely ever intrinsically motivating at first.
When we set a goal for ourselves, whether it’s starting a business, becoming a writer or training for a marathon, we almost always have to be externally induced to get through the early stages of our goal pursuit.
But what happens is that eventually over time, the activity becomes intrinsically rewarding in itself.
Like Maxwell said,
“After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it.”
Without that external spur to get us started however, we may never get over the hump to the point where we want to do it for ourselves. We all need to be externally motivated to do an activity until the activity itself becomes intrinsically rewarding.