The Answer to the Puzzle of Motivation

One of the biggest problems of the business world at present is keeping the employees or the concerned parties motivated about the cause. It is the lack of motivation that results in an employee leaving the job and taking on the struggle of being an entrepreneur. Therefore, for each and every business person it is imperative to have an understanding of the puzzle of motivation so that it could be solved in the best way to ensure prosperity and success.

Motivation has been a subject of study among psychologists for about a century now. The approaches and methodologies that worked centuries ago were refused a few decades later, and the ones that were presented a few decades ago have now lost their utility and are considered futile. The lines below discuss the biggest contemporary misconceived motivation factor and the true factors that help solve the puzzle of motivation.

Puzzle Business Motivation

Misconceived Motivation Factor:

The contemporary misconception about motivation is the application of a reinforcement approach, where every achievement is to be rewarded whereas every lag in performance is to be penalized. Over the years this approach has worked, however, now researchers have started to conduct research on this approach, which has led to questioning the authenticity of this approach.

According to numerous researches conducted under numerous situations and circumstances, the extrinsic reward approach works only in mechanical types of work. Therefore, in mechanical works, setting a higher reward means higher performance. However, on the other hand, work that involves creativity does not get any help from this approach as according to scientists, setting a reward limits the scope of a person thus not letting him think outside the box. Therefore, setting greater rewards for creative work means poor performance.

This shift in the effectiveness of extrinsic motivation has caused a change in the way businesses to keep the employees motivated and the deviation from these extrinsic motivation factors is what causes the birth of an entrepreneur. Therefore, an entrepreneur is a person who nourishes and breeds motivation intrinsically.

Puzzle Business Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation:

The counter to extrinsic motivation and the solution to the contemporary puzzle of motivation is intrinsic motivation. Researchers believe that besides the limited mechanical jobs, it’s the intrinsic motivators that encourage creativity and boost the spirit of creativity and thinking out of the box among people. This creativity and thinking out of the box is what is the foundation of entrepreneurship.

According to researchers, there are three factors that combine to give intrinsic motivation. If you analyze and observe these factors closely then you will come to realize the fact that these factors are what entrepreneurs crave for in their life. The three factors of intrinsic motivation that help solve the motivation puzzle are as under:

Autonomy- The first intrinsic motivator is autonomy, which refers to control over your life. It involves the way you live, the way you dress, the time when you come to the office, the way you work and so on. Having complete control over the way you want things done to achieve a particular objective is what motivates people the most. Isn’t this what entrepreneurship is all about?

Mastery- The second intrinsic motivator is mastery that refers to the desire to be better and better. To achieve the best and keep on improving the performance standards is what mastery is concerned with the most. Isn’t an entrepreneur fond of mastery?

Purpose- Above all the one single intrinsic motivator that diminishes the importance of the rest of motivators either intrinsic or extrinsic is a purpose. Purpose refers to doing something meaningful and that is larger than the desires and wishes of a single purpose. Those who perform a job with some purpose in mind are the ones who are most motivated about it. Aren’t entrepreneurs the most purpose full beings?

Now it’s Your Turn!

Do you prefer extrinsic or intrinsic motivators? Which motivational factors keep you committed to the cause? Are you a fan of reinforcement? How do you apply it in your environment? Share your precious thoughts with us.

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58 responses to “The Answer to the Puzzle of Motivation”

  1. Well if you are talking about motivation I must say it’s really important to get motivated and work hard on our task. I’d always prefer to read blogger interview to get motivated.


  2. Jason Power says:

    Hello Nate,

    This post absolutely is something that happens in a workplace environment with creative problem solvers. These people want rewards that are based on themselves in most cases not what someone else determines. I personally have experienced this with places I have worked in the past.

    • Nate Leung says:

      Hi Jason,

      I think we all have experienced that one way or another. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Can’t but say you’ve just bless me again with your wonderful piece. on each time i come on your blog, i find something new and inspiring, thanks Nate. Merry Xmas in advance

  4. Sojourner says:

    As a teacher in this current educational climate, I feel a lot of the intrinsic motivation has been stripped away. It’s a big problem.

  5. Great Santa Hat! Is it snowing in here? Haha..

    I believe and agree that discovering your purpose is the most powerful motivator. Keeps you on track and naturally filters out activities that are not aligned with it!

  6. Hey Nate,

    I guess you can say that we are all entrepreneurs in all own right. It doesn’t matter if we’re working for someone or for ourselves, we can all fit into the three factors of motivation you mentioned here on your post.

    I can definitely attest to this. In one of my previous jobs I was so limited as to what I do now in IT. You love the freedom that you have and I took it further in starting a home business. I definitely felt like more of myself when I started this and as the journey continues the more liberated I feel. And the more liberated I feel, the more motivated I get!

    • Nate Leung says:

      Hi Sherman,

      Some people who do have jobs, get by to pay the bills but ultimately start their own business to fulfill their passion!

  7. Sophie Bowns says:

    I wish I had the skills to be an entrepreneur !

  8. That’s a really good question Nate. I never really thought about it but I guess it would be both for me at different times. While I love the idea of autonomy, those mortgage payments are pretty good extrinsic motivators. 🙂

  9. I think the most important part of motivation is taking the initiative and accomplishing the impossible. When others say that you can’t accomplish your goal, you just do whatever it takes to get the job done and then you will be able to achieve bigger goals. Success breeds success and action creates motivation. Nothing else to it!

    Lawrence Bergfeld

  10. Ryan Biddulph says:

    Intrinsic all the way Nate. I love being free. I call on that inner feeling to motivate myself. I could mail it in tonight; Christmas night, fun but long day at my parents. Here I am networking and I have another post to write and publish now…..gotta go 😉 Great post!

  11. Anil Kumar says:

    Wonderful post! Well I prefer extrinsic motivators for my committed motivation. It’s really important to focus on motivation because it will make consistent of work.


  12. Reginald says:

    Hey Nate,

    Merry Christmas! Am I late? Hope not.

    For me, I go for mastery. I would never … ever, feel I had accomplish enough in my life. Always pushing it further and doing crazy stuffs just to be one step ahead.

    That’s me anyway right?

    Great write and shared~

  13. I like both methods, but prefer the intrinsic way because I’ve always liked to work by myself, if not for myself. I’ve been lucky in some of my last jobs where I could express independence, so it worked well for me and there were many extrinsic rewards. But now I work for myself, at home, just little ol’ me, and the intrinsic rewards are what keep me going. Thank you for the insightful post, Nate. Peace in the new year.

  14. Zina Solomon says:

    Both methods are important. I think it depends on the person. I personally prefer the intrinsic. It’s a mindset thing. 🙂

  15. The Intrinsic motivational method is my kinda things as i can easily relate with my creative side and my ability to think outside the box in solving problems.

  16. Matt Ritchey says:

    Great read Nate!
    I am definitely intrinsically motivated.
    Having autonomy and my why (purpose) are what keep moving forward. Every. Single. Day!

  17. Catherine says:

    Nice post 🙂 Definitely useful for me as I work with new personal training clients in 2014.

  18. Erik Salmon says:

    I once seen a study on motivation and they found that money did not have the intended effect on motivation that employers think it does.

  19. I guess it will all depend upon the kind of objective you are trying to achieve. I agree that some job types can enjoy the extrinsic motivations but creativity can’t be forced out.

    Through the comment section of your post, it appears that bloggers demand intrinsic factors 🙂

    Thanks Nate for the discussion. Got to learn something goood.

  20. I find monetary rewards to work up to a certain point. You can’t completely ignore monetary rewards, but your can’t solely rely on them either.

    For intrinsic rewards, you have to be more selective and tailor the rewards to the individual. Depending on their personality type.

    • Nate Leung says:

      There has to be a balance like you said Scott. Thanks for the comments!

  21. Waiwai says:

    Thanks for sharing! I prefer intrinsic motivation.

  22. Julie Kemeny says:

    Thanks for sharing this one, Nate! I am definitely intrinsically motivated! I have to have a purpose that matters in order to be motivated.

  23. Esha says:

    I really enjoyed the video, intrinsic motivation works for me.. 🙂

  24. marilyn cada says:

    hi nate. this post made me remember of my freelance writing work wherein one of my assignments is about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. based on my research, the sense of autonomy is the number one motivation that creative people has. this is why Pixar and Apple employs an organizational structure that discourages bureaucracy and encourages autonomy and minimal supervision

  25. I’ve forward this post on to my friend who is working in Lyoness.

  26. Isaiah Joe says:

    Nate, you’re just giving out one of the best motivating tips so far this year, Thanks and i hope you keep up the good works.
    I really appreciate it.

  27. Shalu Sharma says:

    Motivation is certainly a factor and to be honest its important that the motivation of not only yourself but your employees are kept for for the business to grow.

  28. Shalu Sharma says:

    Motivation is certainly a factor and to be honest its important that the motivation of not only yourself but your employees are kept for the business to grow.

    • Nate Leung says:

      You need to treat your employees with respect if they are part of your business plan. Thanks Shalu!

  29. Mosam says:

    Hello Nate,
    Thanks a lot for writing such an awesome post at the year end. Really needed this stuff.


  30. Motivation!? Thanks for this post. It is so timely with the new year and all. We must remember to motivate ourselves to achieve our goals. Thank you for this post

  31. Enstine Muki says:

    I gone through the complete post and I must say you have nailed it hard, amazing post my friend, I liked it.

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