Many of us have been trained to work for the gold star, the smiley face, the carrot, the prize in school. We respond to these extrinsic motivators. But research apparently shows that intrinsic motivation – personal and private reward for our efforts – is actually more powerful.
I admit I struggle with this evidence personally because I know for myself I still respond quite powerfully to extrinsic motivators. I like getting the gold star or the A+ on a paper. I like getting the public recognition of doing well or being at the top. However, I think these two types of motivation are closely linked because I also pride myself in doing a good job. I am internally motivated to keep my standards high. I don’t let myself do sub-standard work because it doesn’t sit right with me. So I think I would do this work even without the extrinsically motivated rewards, just because of my personal standards. But the rewards are sure nice 🙂
Some resources on this topic: