Cultivating Intrinsic Motivation

Aloha! Today we are talking about motivation, specifically intrinsic motivation.

I personally have a difficult time cultivating intrinsic motivation so this is something that will benefit me as well.

Most of this article’s tips and tricks are from the book EQ From The Inside Out by Granville D’Souza.

It was mandatory for me to read this book for my class and I am happy that it was. I love classes that are useful and actually thought provoking.

“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”
— Oprah Winfrey

I am in between a ‘get it done now’ type of person and a procrastinating type of person.

Cultivating intrinsic motivation is to have the desire to do something now, not putting it off for the “right moment” and just to go and get it done.

One thing that I ask myself when I do feel like procrastinating is: Do I really want this? If I do, then that usually snaps me out of procrastinating.

If I’m not really sure if I want this I ask myself “Why am I doing this?” and “what will I gain by doing this?”.

For example: School work. Do I really want it? … Kind of (there’s no immediate pay off). Why am I doing this? To get a degree. What will I gain by doing this? A college degree, and a better paying job.

By the end of those three questions, I can usually talk myself into finishing my school work.

Something else that I try to remember when I am procrastinating is “The faster I start, the faster I get it done”.

Or if it is something like learning a language where it takes time and practice I always remember 1. Where was I with this language a year ago? 2. Where am I with this language now? and 3. Where will I be with this language in a year if I continue to practice a little everyday?

Overall, It’s up to me to first decide what I want in life, and then to go out and get it.

According to this book, “intrinsic motivation, or self-motivation, is the engine that moves our lives, the force that pushes us forward. It is our internal drive that gives us the desire to achieve and accomplish goals” (D’Souza, 2018).

D’Souza lists 8 tips from his book that I am incorporating into my life, and I will be sharing 7 of them with you.

Tip 1: Find mentors

This one is hard for me because I am nervous putting myself out there and asking people to help me. I don’t want to be an inconvenience or a bother.

However, I have learned that people love to talk about themselves, and their passions. If you are able to connect with someone and just have a conversation with them, they will usually guide you to what they are doing, and how they are doing.

D’souza said to “Set up a time to talk to them to find out what attitudes or choices they have made personally and professionally to help themselves get and stay motivated” (D’Souza, 2018). I think this is so important because we will not be motivated all the time.

Every person I talk to, they all say the same thing. They aren’t motivated all of time, they just keep going. Even on the days they aren’t motivated.

Tip 2: Bring out the best in yourself

“In order to bring out the best in yourself, you have to first be able to recognize what your special gifts and talents are” (D’Souza, 2018).

This is hard for me. I am one of those people who used to point out the bad in themselves so much I have to really search for the good.

I have started a list of things that I am great at, and whenever I think of another, I remember to add it to the list. It’s easy to forget the good, so a good solid list will help you remember it.

I put my list over my desk so I can look at it everyday. Just a little reminder that I am good, there are good qualities in me, and there’s more. I just have to take some time and I will find it.

Some examples of simple natural talent that we might possess are:

  • Being able to easily talk with people — even strangers
  • Having a creative mind
  • Being a good listener
  • Being very well organized
  • Being a good cook
  • Having an ability to tell stories
  • Having a great sense of humor
  • Being able to fix almost anything
  • Having an innate curiosity about almost everything
  • Possessing artistic talents
  • Having an ability to write
  • Possessing a natural humility
  • Having a very technical or analytical mind
  • Having a natural ability for nurturing and caring for others

Another way to find your strengths is to ask people whom you trust “What do you see as my top strengths?”. This may help you recognize some strengths you had that you didn’t realize.

Another way to go about this exercise is to ask some people whom you trust to give you genuine feedback. Ask them, “What do you see as my top strengths?” Their inputs will reinforce what you know about your strengths.

Tip 2 helps tip 3 which is:

Tip 3: Build your self-esteem

This one is tough for me because I have spent many years pushing down my self-esteem.

One of the first and most important step to do to build your self-esteem is to be kind yo yourself.

Have a self-care routine on deck. Shower, do a face-mask, read a good book, watch a funny movie, watch YouTube videos that lift your spirit up, go on a jog… give yourself reasons to smile.

When you accomplish tell yourself “I am awesome!” or “I am proud of myself for accomplishing that”. Acknowledge that you are awesome, and that you are worth being proud of.

Tip 4: Plan your life

I kind of agree with this tip but I also disagree with this tip.

I agree with it because if you are going after something, you need a plan. If you know that you want to be a doctor… you need a plan on how to get there. If you want to be an actress, then you need a plan to get there.

However, if you are like me… you don’t really know what you want. Life isn’t a straight path and there is no way to really plan it.

For example, I could not plan that a mass pandemic would happen in the exact same time I am graduating college and trying to figure out my career.

However, I did make a plan to graduate college.

For me, I am going to continue to make plans and hope for the best. But, I will allow my course to change when circumstances arise.

Tip 5: Create your own opportunities

I do love this tip.

It’s scary to take the initiative and put yourself out there but you have to! We all have to.

We can’t wait for luck, we can’t wait for our circumstances to change, but we must hustle and go after what we want.

It can be nerve-wracking, but that is why we are building our self-esteem and becoming more confident! So we are able to go after what we want because we have the confidence to do so.

Some examples of creating your own opportunities is by taking a class to explore your options, talk to people that you come across that are in a field of your interest, message people on social media and ask them questions, watch YouTube videos about things that are interesting to you.

Tip 6: Invest in planning

“People never plan to fail, they just fail to plan.”

This tip is kind of like tip 4 but I agree with this tip. I love planning.

One of the lessons that I have learned throughout this quarantine is to take things one baby step at a time. This means that I am planning the small things. I am planning my baby steps that will lead me to where I want to go.

We need to focus on what we want, and plan on how to get there.

Tip 7: Make a change

Change is hard.

I have a hard time with change too.

When I do make a positive change, even a small one, I find a ripple effect happening and I want to do other positive things in my life.

For example, I made the change to start working out. I then found the motivation to start eating healthier. Then I found the motivation to want to wake up earlier and take care of my mental health.

This is a long post, I know but I hope you are finding that you are able to cultivate some intrinsic motivation.

Mahalo for reading and I will see you all next time.


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