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Extrinsic Motivation: simple definition and examples


Noisli - Extrinsic Motivation

We’ve already covered what motivation is and why it’s so important, and that there are two types of motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.

Let’s take a closer look at extrinsic motivation and discover what it is, what some examples of extrinsic motivation are and how you can use extrinsic rewards to fuel your motivation.

What Is Extrinsic Motivation?

Extrinsic motivation means that you are motivated and driven by external rewards. You’re motivated by the desired outcome which is detached from the activity itself. Extrinsic motivation relies on outside rewards such as fame, money, a prize, good grades or praise.

If you are driven by extrinsic motivation you might not enjoy doing the task itself but you’re doing it because of the external reward you want to receive.

Sometimes, extrinsic motivation can be fueled by something you’re trying to avoid instead, such as a fear, a threat, a negative outcome or some form of punishment.

Examples of Extrinsic Motivation

Here are some common examples of extrinsic motivation:

  • Doing work for money
  • Competing for a prize or a trophy
  • Studying to get good grades
  • Doing something to receive recognition and praise
  • Doing tasks to earn a discount
  • Doing something to avoid judgement
  • Using a loyalty card to gain points or win prizes

Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation

Different from extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation is fueled by internal rewards. You’re motivated because you love the activity itself, get satisfaction and enjoyment from doing it or have a certain personal interest in the activity.

Although intrinsic motivation is regarded to be a stronger incentive to work and achieve long-term goals, extrinsic motivation is still a great way to get the job done.

How and when to use it

Whenever intrinsic motivation is not working or applicable, you can try to use extrinsic rewards to help you overcome procrastination and get motivated.

Some scenarios when using extrinsic rewards include:

  • When you’re working on a long-term goal and need small incentives to help you keep going
  • When you have little interest in the activity itself
  • When you have a hard time finding the reason to why you should do something
  • When something is new or requires a new skillset which you’re unsure about

Avatar photo Written by Sabine Staggl

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