I actually did not watch a video having to do with my paper because I spent all week on it…
So I asked around for TED talks that interested people in the past. I was drawn to this talk about motivation at first because I assumed it would have to do with being determined and I thought it would inspire me. In fact, it did. The talk did not take too long to get me hooked. Within the first 7 minutes, there was an idea that completely changed the way I thought of motivation. He explains at about 6:30 how certain rewards only work when a task is simple and has a clear direction. As he says, extrinsic rewards make focus narrow and therefore people only see the simple solution. With such a narrow focus, you cannot analyze or formulate solutions. The extrinsic out does the intrinsic.

As an athlete, this really made me think. In swimming, for example, focusing too much on a particular time standard will not allow for enjoyment of the sport or even small technique fixes. It only allows for “fast” thinking. In swimming, too many other things matter and especially at a collegiate level (for any athlete), without intrinsic motivation to finish your four last years, extrinsic motivation can be few and far between.

But enough about swimming…intrinsic motivation is extremely important in almost anything we do. Looking into the near future of careers, it is going to be extremely important to be intrinsically motivated, especially in entry level jobs where extrinsic motivation is not very likely at first.


4 comments on “MotivaTED

  1. I like your catchy definitely caught my attention. I agree that intrinsic motivation is crucial. Using swimming as an example was a great way to relate the talk to real life situations!

  2. I completely agree with your point as well. I myself have gotten to the point where a good grade no longer serves as the ultimate motivation, but rather I am motivated more by the fact that I know that what I am learning will help me down the road. I know that this is not the case with everyone, so I wonder if there have been any studies done about the age at which people experience this shift in academia. Or does that shift necessarily happen for everyone?

  3. What is better about intrinsic? Or, maybe I should say, under what conditions are intrinsic motivations more effective.

    I recall reading about some research where people like solving math problems LESS when paid per correct answer. in other words, the joy of problem solving was undercut by rewarding for it.

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