What Is Intrinsic Motivation And How Does It Work?

How will we obtain our largest targets in life? Onerous work, studying new expertise, and staying targeted are undoubtedly essential issues, however some of the essential issues we want is motivation. Shedding motivation can cease us in our tracks. It will possibly make us procrastinate, doubt our expertise and talents, and take us off the trail to success. Within the worst instances, a scarcity of motivation can destroy our targets and kill our goals.

The place does motivation come from?

It begins with ideas and chemical substances within the reward techniques in our brains. It continues to develop in our brains and is additional formed by our behaviors. Because of this neuroscience, which is the examine of the operate of the mind, is so essential.

Once we perceive the fundamentals of neuroscience, we will hack the reward system in our brains so we will keep motivated to attain our largest targets.

The Neuroscience of Motivation

On the most simple degree, people need to keep away from ache and expertise pleasure. Our pleasure-seeking habits relies on a psychological reward system that’s managed by our brains. This reward system is what retains us motivated and helps us obtain our largest targets and goals.

Neurotransmitters are chemical substances in our brains that assist form our ideas and behaviors. One of many most important neurotransmitters in our reward system is the “pleasure” chemical dopamine. Dopamine is produced primarily within the mid-brain after which strikes to different areas of the mind, such because the amygdala, which performs a giant function in our emotional improvement. It additionally strikes to the prefrontal cortex, which is chargeable for considering, feeling, planning, and taking motion.

Whenever you do one thing pleasurable, your mind releases dopamine to make you’re feeling good mentally and bodily. This generally occurs after we eat our favourite meals, have intercourse, have an ideal dialog with somebody, or do one thing else we actually take pleasure in. Every time we really feel pleasure from doing one thing, our brains bear in mind what made us really feel good. It really assigns a reward worth for all the pieces we do.

For instance, consuming a slice of our favourite pizza might have a better reward worth than consuming a smoothie. Being on that tropical trip may have a better reward worth than watching that water fountain downtown.

Our brains even launch dopamine earlier than we interact in these issues that make us joyful. It’s the expectation of the reward fairly than the reward itself that has the strongest affect on our emotional reactions and reminiscences of what’s pleasurable. Simply planning that tropical trip by testing completely different places on a journey website or taking a look at issues we need to purchase on Amazon stimulates our reward system by releasing dopamine.

Occupied with beginning a challenge at work that we’re actually keen about additionally prompts our reward system. This act of feeling the pleasure generated by our psychological reward techniques is what creates reward-seeking habits and is a giant a part of motivation.

Vanderbilt College researchers found that “go-getters” who’re extra keen to work exhausting have better dopamine exercise within the striatum and prefrontal cortex, two areas of the mind that affect motivation and reward.

Hacking Our Mind’s Reward System

Listed here are 4 methods to hack the reward system in your mind to remain motivated.

1. Maintain Rising

Whenever you do the identical issues time and again, that dopamine rush tends to get smaller and smaller. An effective way to remain motivated is to continue to grow by doing larger and greater issues.

Tackle larger, tougher tasks at work. When you’ve reached a operating or health milestone, begin working towards a much bigger one. In case you’re fluent in a overseas language, discover ways to have extra advanced, philosophical conversations. In case you have your personal enterprise, discover methods to amass extra purchasers so you’ll be able to generate extra revenue. Continue learning new expertise that may push you to the sting of your consolation zone.

Taking up better challenges helps our mind’s reward system proceed to assign excessive reward values to issues we do. Begin by undertaking small targets. As you accumulate increasingly small wins, work your manner as much as tougher targets.

2. Use Visualization

“Visualization is daydreaming with a function.”—Bo Bennett

An effective way to remain motivated is to visualise undertaking a objective—regardless that you haven’t accomplished it but. Visualization really causes the mind to launch dopamine. This makes us see our future rewards extra clearly and go after them extra fervently.

When our brains launch dopamine and we really feel that rush of euphoria, our hippocampus, which is a part of our mind’s limbic system, data these pleasurable moments in our long-term reminiscence. The extra we visualize success, the extra our brains affiliate this visualized success with pleasurable emotions.

Once we can think about a greater future, we’re motivated to maintain pushing ahead and overcoming obstacles in our path. Because of this individuals work exhausting to get raises and promotions, make investments their cash, put their youngsters through faculty, and do different issues that assist them or others prosper later in life.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Jim Carrey, and different well-known and influential individuals have used visualization to attain sky-high success. It’s an effective way to make use of the facility of your creativeness to maintain you motivated to succeed.

3. Keep away from Extreme Stress

Excessive ranges of stress are related to power irritation, which might trigger our motivation to lower. Researchers at Emory College have theorized that power irritation from stress might trigger a chemical response within the physique that decreases dopamine provides within the mind.

Low ranges of stress can really assist us carry out higher by making us extra alert. That adrenaline rush we get from stress can provide us the vitality and the sting to do our greatest. However when stress ranges are excessive, stress may be damaging to our our bodies, minds, and motivation.

Excessive-stress can result in burnout. Within the worse instances, it could trigger individuals to stop tasks or stop their jobs. It will possibly trigger psychological issues similar to anxiousness or despair. It will possibly result in well being issues like coronary heart illness, diabetes, hypertension, and different sicknesses. Scale back stress by doing deep respiration workout routines, meditating, operating, or exercising frequently.

4. Reframe Challenges

In case you change the best way you have a look at issues, the stuff you have a look at change.—Wayne Dyer

One other nice technique to hack your mind’s reward system is to vary the way you have a look at challenges in your life. A standard drawback is that many individuals see troublesome work as an impediment or just one thing they don’t like doing.

technique is to take a look at troublesome conditions and obstacles as alternatives that may aid you and people round you develop. This can assist us have a look at troublesome issues in a constructive gentle and really look ahead to doing them as a substitute of dreading them.

For instance, if three workers in your crew aren’t getting together with one another and two of them are occupied with quitting, don’t have a look at this as a really anxious, horrible drawback. As an alternative, have a look at the scenario as a possibility to make use of your interpersonal expertise to assemble the indignant workers collectively, allow them to voice their considerations, after which resolve the issue.

It would assist them enhance personally and professionally. It would additionally aid you and your organization prosper as effectively. You may also apply this identical mind-set to your private life. If your mates or members of the family aren’t getting alongside, use the disagreement as a progress alternative that may profit them and also you.

Once we can see troublesome issues as nice alternatives, we’ll begin to look ahead to them. Once we look ahead to doing issues, it makes the reward system in our brains reward us with extra dopamine, and it will increase the probabilities that we’ll have a look at future issues as alternatives to develop.


Motivation is a difficult a part of private {and professional} improvement. Because of this motivational movies and motivational speeches are so standard. A central a part of staying motivated, even throughout probably the most difficult instances, is to grasp how our brains work. Science has given us a great understanding of our mind’s reward system and the chemical substances and pathways that permit it to form our habits.

Hack that reward system in your mind by taking over larger challenges, visualizing success, avoiding extreme stress, and taking a look at troublesome conditions as alternatives to assist others and assist your self develop.

Once we start to grasp our brains, we’ll be higher in a position to grasp our lives and obtain these large targets.

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