What Is Extrinsic Motivation? Definition And Everyday Examples

Last Update on September 7, 2021 : Published on September 7, 2021
What is extrinsic motivation

What motivates you? To me it is the guiding energy that helps me achieve my goals. Motivation is the sprinkle of strength and power to your willingness to do something. Now this urge to achieve your aim can come from within as well as from outside of you.

You must have heard of the belief that you can achieve something only if you want it! Let’s clear the air here. That’s not the case, if you don’t have the strength within, you can attract strength from outside.

Do you quickly clean your room when your mom tells you to? No, right! But as soon as she tells you that she’ll treat you if you clean your room, how quickly do you clean it? You clean it in no time.

This is extrinsic motivation when the driving focus comes from an external stimulus.

Also read: Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation: Meaning, Examples & Key Differences

What Is Extrinsic Motivation?

What is extrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation is the kind of motivation that you get from the outside world. It can be in the form of a reward of any sorts. A bonus at work, extra treats for my friends or a long weekend… all act as extrinsic motivation.

There are times when we don’t feel like doing anything and then there is this one thing that attracts you. That attraction becomes your guiding force which helps you get up and get going.

Things work well when motivation comes from within but that’s not always possible. I bribe myself sometimes so that I can finish doing a few things. I treat myself every Saturday (with food) so that I am motivated enough to work out the entire week.

Do you also do something like this?

Also read: Which Type Of Motivation Do You Possess?

Types of Extrinsic Motivation

Not everyone enjoys food like I do, hence, different people need different types of motivation. Self-determination theory also states the same. Different types of extrinsic motivation come into play when the context is different.

Let’s look at its types:

1. External regulation: When you do something in order to satisfy an external demand. Basically when you work in order to get rewards.

EX: In my school, whoever would score more than a certain percent, my principal would reward them with a chocolate. Honestly, the chocolate would make us work really hard. Here the motivation was regulated from an external source.

2. Introjection regulation: When you do something only because it has to be done. You basically want to reduce the guilt or anxiety of not doing it. Or you just want to boost your ego or something. You do things only because you think that’s expected out of you.

EX: I had chosen to take up science after high school, only because my mom believed that I could do well in that field. Trust me, I pushed myself to complete the course only because my mom expected it out of me. That was my only driving force. I could not afford to drop out!

3. Identified regulation: When you are motivated to do something only because you think that it can benefit you. You are motivated by the end result of your actions.

EX: I worked really hard to pass a competitive exam, I didn’t get through, yet. I continue working hard for it because I know after I get through that exam, it will be very good for my career. This kind of motivation is regulated by identification.

4. Integrated regulation: This is very close to intrinsic motivation. Mostly autonomous! When you choose to do something only because it aligns with your value and belief system.

EX: Sometimes I don’t feel like cleaning the house. I still do it only because it’s against my value system to coexist with dirt. I can’t leave the house, especially the kitchen, unclean. Those days when I feel lazy, only this thought makes me get out of bed!

Are you clear with what extrinsic motivation is so far? Let’s move ahead…

Here are a few tips to keep in mind you don’t have intrinsic motivation anymore.

Also read: How Does Dopamine Help Increase Motivation

How To Motivate Extrinsically?

How to motivate extrinsically

1. Look for good, strong reasons to get something done. Try to integrate them with your values. If the reason is strong, no power can stop you from being motivated.

2. Challenge yourself. We can never say no to a challenge. Trick your mind to feel challenged. Once the offence is taken, just see how quickly you feel motivated.

3. Spend time with motivated people. We often duplicate energy so when you spend time with motivated people there is a high chance you’ll get motivated too.

You can use these tricks to motivate yourself as well as others.

Let’s look at some everyday examples of extrinsic motivation

1. The morning of your evening dinner party is usually busy. You clean and polish every corner of your home. You clean even the filthiest corner which you resent deeply. You do it because there will be so many eyes gazing at your house, there is a slight fear of judgment. Hence, to display a certain kind of image, you go down cleaning things which you usually avoid. Therefore, here you functioned on an external motivation!

2. You are fed up with taking the bus or train to work. Even though you do not like to drive, you still learn how to and get a license. You did this because you just couldn’t slog in the bus anymore. Here you are externally motivated because the comfort of a car is attracting you

3. During college you always want to eat outside or party with friends or go on a trip. To do that you take a part time job so that you can pay for all these things. The motivation to work hard comes from the fact that only your salary can pay for all your expenses. Hence, you keep working even if it doesn’t interest you.

These are a few examples that I am sure all of us can identify with. We all need motivation almost at all times irrespective of it being intrinsic or extrinsic. It’s not always possible to be intrinsically motivated and that’s when extrinsic motivation comes into play.

I hope this blog was informative enough for you. For more such interesting blogs click here!

Thanks for reading!

Take care! Stay safe!

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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