There are all sorts of different theories about motivation. In essence, one body of research talks about intrinsic and extrinsic motivators — activity and outcome based. Another body of research talks about personal and social motivators.
I’ve decided to put all four together. Most people consider these four domains as separate. I consider them as the four ways we experience what we do, how we do it, who with and what we get. In other words, they’re the four ways we experience.
Our experience in each area will be somewhere between enjoyable and unpleasant, or between joyful and painful. Our overall experience in each area can be different, though each contributes toward our overall experience.
Many people and organisations focus on the outcome aspects of motivation — reward and recognition. However, we spend most of our time involved in the act of producing them. Though we can be motivated around reward and recognition, the way we produce them is the source of our personal and social satisfaction.
All four aspects matter.
- Amply rewarded is one thing. Dissatisfied with how you do it is another.
- Widely applauded is one thing. Unpleasant interaction is another.
- Paid for work is one thing. Recognised for effort is another.
- Satisfying participation is one thing. Personally connected with meaning is another.
Crafting our choice
Ideally we experience enough of what matters for us — through all four types of motivation. That means our activity is itself satisfying, the way we interact uplifting, we’re satisfied with our reward, and we receive enough recognition.
We might not notice when our experience in any area is enough. It might just be a quiet sense of contentment. Though we will probably find our squeaky wheel in any area that isn’t.
It’ll be the same for others we know and work with.
We can take the random approach and wait to experience each aspect by accident, or we can deliberately design our lives to experience what’s motivating.
Though to put it in our own hands and craft a motivated life, it’s first necessary to know what we’re truly motivated for.