Differences Between Internal and External Motivation

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Differences between Internal and External Motivation
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 may be; is not high on that particular individuals priority list or to-do list. So when someone who for example, wants to lose weight and requires these external motivators or "influences"; then that person does not really want to achieve their goal at all. Because, hanging up photos of skinny people in bathing suits will not make you want to lose weight at all. It can back-fire, and give you a reason to give up. Many people who have ever given up on a diet or exercise routine have all too many times used the excuse, "I will never get that skinny" or "they have a team of trainers that keep them that in shape". But, the truth is the motivation was never there. Someone with motivation that comes from within will always achieve their goals, because it is something that they are actually interested in doing. In a classic study on the effects of rewards on intrinsic motivation, Mark Lepper and his colleagues at Stanford University asked young children to draw with magic markers. Drawing with the markers was an activity that all of the children in the study found interesting. One group of children was simply asked to draw with the markers and a second group was told that if they drew with the markers, they would get a "Good Player Award". Essentially, this was a certificate that they could hang up in their preschool classroom, something that would appeal to most preschool children. Over the next four days, participants were monitored during free-choice periods at their preschool. When allowed to play with any toy of their choosing, who played with the magic markers? Their results seemed counterintuitive. The kids who would receive a reward played with the magic markers significantly less than those children who would not be rewarded. In fact, the kids who would not receive a reward played with the magic markers twice as much as those who would receive a reward. (Tauer, 2009) The above study, shows to be true even in the military. As a Platoon Sergeant, you...
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