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How can I shift my sense of identity from exterior to interior?

Some individuals participate in activity for the sheer fun, pleasure and enjoyment of it. They are motivated by skill improvement, the inherent challenge and the achievement of personal goals. These people are motivated intrinsically (internally). They are involved because they love it. Alternatively, people who are extrinsically (externally) motivated may participate for social approval, material rewards and social status.

In extrinsic motivation the theory is, rewarding a behavior increases the probability that the behavior will be repeated and punishing a behavior decreases the possibility that it will be repeated.  However, once a need is satisfied, it is no longer a goal and loses its power to reward.  The more extrinsic rewards a person gets, the less need there is for the same type of reward.

In intrinsic motivation a person participates in activity for the sheer joy of participating, experiences that joy and the motive to participate again is reinforced. People are intrinsically motivated in particular to do something they like. For example, if a person really likes tennis she will be more intrinsically motivated to participate.

It’s always best to find activities that someone likes so they are intrinsically motivated. If someone doesn’t have an intrinsic orientation then it can be helpful to use extrinsic rewards to develop intrinsic motivation, but the rewards can not be excessive, controlling or manipulative and should be contingent on accomplishment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.