Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's My Motivation?

I'm so very drawn to the topic of athleticism... actually the science behind it. With the Olympics coming up next week, I find myself glued to the various reports on the Olympians' training schedules, their psychology and their character. One of the many traits that these champions share is high intrinsic motivation.

There are two types of motivation. The first is extrinsic motivation. This motivation consists of a drive to lessen pain or discomfort. A great example of extrinsic motivation would be hunger. One is motivated to eat because of hunger or eating for comfort when stress levels are high. Another great example would be NOT exercising. The motivation to not move because exercise is awkward, uncomfortable or painful. This type of motivation only serves the "now" with no thought about dream attainment or what the future will look like and is actually rooted in negativity with a focus to NOT feel something. Intrinsic motivation goes beyond that rooting itself in positivity.

Intrinsic motivation DOES look into the future and reaches beyond any type of pain and discomfort to fulfill dreams. It's focus is TO feel something instead of trying NOT to feel something. This motivation is the knowing that the happiness that lies down the road is worth, and will GREATLY exceed, any temporary pain or discomfort one may go through to make their dreams come true. This motivation is both spiritual and intellectual, and when perfected, halts the gravity of any extrinsic forces because it knows the ultimate destination is happiness and accomplishment.

In my opinion, extrinsic motivation requires the least amount of effort and is quite superficial (more of a reactive/primitive/bottom-of-the-food-chain behavior) while intrinsic motivation breeds excellence. It has been a great help for me to understand the driving forces behind why I do what I do or why I don't. From moment to moment when reaching for my goals, I can analyze my actions with two simple questions: 1) Is this activity moving me closer or further from my goals AND 2) What is my motivation here? I LOVE that last question!!! It is commonly parodied with actors when "reaching" for a character to emerge, but now I see that it's actually a REAL process and one that I'm going to work harder to employ.

Beyond the TEMPORARY awkwardness, discomfort or pain lies whoever you want to be. And once you're a champion.... the gold is yours forever! What's your motivation?
Correction: The Olympics start THIS WEEK!!! OMGosh! So sorry everyone!!! Apparently I'm still in last week! YIKES!

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