When asking the question "what is the difference between internal and external motivation?", one may assume that the answer is simple. At first glance, one would simply say that internal motivation is something that someone uses to motivate themselves from within. In the same sense, one would say that external motivation is something that a person would use to "motivate" others to accomplish a task or achieve a certain goal.
Internal motivation is actually the only type of motivation. It is that silent and invisible feeling that comes from within. It makes people actually want to get up and do things. When someone sets themselves a goals to lose weight, they must have that internal feeling to want to lose weight. With that internal feeling of wanting to lose weight, they must also want to exercise and eat right. Now, with this example, some would say that most people require external motivators in order to succeed at a weight loss goal. But the fact is that there is no such thing as external motivation.
"Extrinsic" motivation – or external motivation is a misnomer. There can only be internal motivation. When you think of external motivation what we’re really talking about is influence – what we can do as part of initiative that will influence their behavior. Using such things as
consensus, social proof, reciprocity; we can influence someone’s behavior. Understand, this is much different than motivation. These are psychological "tricks" that have an effect on behavior that isn’t so much a conscious reaction from the audience. Many times it is very sub-conscious. (Hebert, 2007)
Paul Hebert says that external motivation is not motivation at all, but instead a form of influencing someone to do something that they normally would not do for themselves. In other words, if you see the need to "influence" or motivate someone to do something, then in all actuality, whatever the activity or task... [continues]
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