Internal Motivation

Nick Cannone

Is Motivation Mostly Internal or External?

Motivation is mostly internal. Motivation is defined as "a reason to act in a certain way." Internal motivation occurs when this motivation is rooted by personal gratification.
Internal motivation is related to being selfish. It is doing what is best for oneself. When you're engaged in something that makes you internally motivated, you'll find that "it's fairly easy to maintain your concentration, you're keen to do well because the task deserves your best effort, and you'd do it whether or not you were paid or rewarded in any way." On the other hand, external motivation does not directly benefit you, but instead someone else. Therefore, it is harder to be motivated by something that you will not feel directly.

3 Main Categories of Internal Motivation

Internal motivation can be utilized in many different ways, but there are three main categories in which internal motivation is divided into. These categories are beliefs, skill development, and personal goals.

Skill Development

Skill development in internal motivation occurs when "a person desires to learn a new skill for his/herself." For example, an employee at a company goes to a class to develop better skills with technology. No pay was offered by the company for this class. Knowing this, the employee went to the class, driven by her hunger to better advance her own skills.


Beliefs in internal motivation are defined as "a will to obtain a certain feeling from doing something." Beliefs in internal motivation are a very effective tool. It is a foresight of something positive to come. For example, if a man or woman decides one day that they would like to lose some weight they will most likely begin by starting a diet or working out. During this time of intense physical activity or emotional strain, they need something to drive them. What drives them is the belief of the amazing feeling they will feel when they look into the mirror one day and are ecstatic about what they see.

Personal Goal

Arguably the most impactful of the three, setting personal goals have an unbelievable effect on a person. Personal goals "focus your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of your life." Setting goals continually drive an individual to achieve something beneficial. For example, many athletes make the vow to do everything that they possibly can to be the best that they can be and help their team win a championship. Nothing is more powerful than chasing a vision for yourself.
Overall, internal motivation is far more effective than external motivation. For the most part, personal interests will always outweigh others'. Whether it is setting goals or advancing skills, or just completing a task, internal motivation will help you get it done.

Works Cited

  • "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: Which Do You Need?" Pick the Brain Motivation and Self Improvement. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.
  • "An Example of Internal Motivation." Business & Entrepreneurship. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.
  • "Personal Goal Setting: Planning to Live Your Life Your Way." Personal Goal Setting. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.
  • "Membership." Understanding Internal Motivation. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.
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