March 29    

Today's quotation:

The only lifelong, reliable motivations are those that come from within, and one of the strongest of those is the joy and pride that grow from knowing that you’ve just done something as well as you can do it.

Lloyd Dobens

Today's Meditation:

As a teacher, I spend much of my class time trying to help and encourage students to develop intrinsic motivation rather than rely on the extrinsic motivation that our society values so much.  We should learn a topic because we want to learn it, not because someone else tells us we should, or because there's a reward involved in learning it.  Rewards are nice when they happen, of course, but they're by no means the most effective motivational tool for the development of true learning and ability.

A person who is intrinsically motivated has many huge advantages over those people who depend upon outside sources for their motivation.  The former is able to wake up in the morning and find tons of interesting things to do on his or her own; the latter won't find much to do unless someone else shows it to them.  When our motivation comes from within, we don't have to depend upon others to give us reasons for doing what we do, and we thus have a freedom that the person whose motivation comes from without simply can't experience.

I know that my students learn better when they want to learn than they do when someone else tells them they need to take a certain class.  I know that they excel more often when they truly want to excel than they do when someone else is telling them that they have to excel.  I try to help them develop their intrinsic motivation because I know that it will be a very valuable tool for them their entire lives long, and I want to give them tools that will last a very long time, not just today or this week or this semester.

I've been very fortunate that most of my motivation has come from within during my life, for there was precious little of the external kind when I was young.  And that intrinsic motivation has helped me to accomplish many very special things--that I most certainly would not have accomplished without it.

Questions to consider:

Are you more strongly motivated from within, or from without?  Why?

How many people try to motivate us extrinsically through rewards or threats?  Does that motivate us for the long-term, or the short?

In what ways might you practice developing you own personal intrinsic motivation?

For further thought:

You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward.  But both those methods are only temporary.  The only lasting thing is self-motivation.

Homer Rice

more on motivation



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