Cultivating self motivation

Why bother? What's in it for you? How do you find this to be valuable? What difference does it make to you? How do you find the time and energy to pursue this? What does this do for you? What is worthwhile about this for you? How does this satisfy you or fulfill an ambition of yours? What are you getting out of this regardless of the recognition and rewards?

These are questions of intrinsic motivation. When we have great answers to these questions, we experience lots of self-motivation. I suspect that intrinsic motivation is contagious. When we obviously are fulfilled by what we are doing, others catch on and find their inner satisfactions too.

Numerous studies have shown that we lose intrinsic motivation around external rewards. Getting grades cheapens our inspired effort, creative outpouring or personal expression. Getting paid weakens our subsequent initiative to "go the extra mile". Getting gold stars downgrades our exuberance into people pleasing tactics.

I've proposed that cultivating more informal learning will affect learners' self motivation:

Effect on self motivation: The way we come across can free people from seeking approval or make them more needy, dependent and reactive to disapproval. We can restore their intrinsic motivation or dismiss their need to be inspired. They will show signs of doing their own thing with satisfaction or playing our game out of desperation.

One way to cultivate self motivation is to keep the questions of personal satisfaction on each learner's mind. Being allowed to question the value of experiences is rewarding. Being expected to find answers to questions of self motivation disrupts "playing our game out of desperation".

We also cultivate self motivation when we give learner viable choices. They can only make up their mind by going within or second-guessing the authority figure who dispenses external rewards. They can either do what they feel like or what they should choose according to someone else's expectations. As they become familiar with the choice between pleasing themselves and pleasing others, they can realize their intrinsic value.

When we expect others to come to these realizations, becoming self motivated happens faster and more easily. Yet we can only take others as far as we have journeyed ourselves. It takes self-motivation to induce self motivation in others. Cultivating self motivation in learners begins with having your own great answers to the questions at the top of this post.


  1. This post makes me think of passion because passion comes from within. Passion is born out of desire - having a dream, vision or longing to see something different from a current situation. Martin Luther King Jnr. was a very passionate self-motivated man because he had a dream for racial equality. Princess Diana had a passionate self-motivation for charity work because she wanted to see a better world. Passion is effective when it is birthed from the inside. You must be motivated intrinsically. You cannot exhibit passion on the outside when deep down you are shallow. You’ve got to cultivate it deep within yourself. That comes by immersing yourself wholeheartedly into pursuing your vision or dream.

  2. Wonderful connections between passion and self motivation, Herman! I agree we cannot be passionate when we are shallow. We can only be "people pleasing" and dependent on others for approval, rewards and incentives to act motivated. It's an act that we fake for lack of our own passion. As you see clearly, passion is birthed from inside regardless of what people think and functions as informal leadership.

  3. changing and cultivating the new you is good - being passionate about what you do and how you do it is a great start to help grow your inner strength and a good way to change and improve yourself to a better lifestyle