Motivation: Nature vs. Nurture

In light of my own flagging motivation, I’ve been trying to read up on ways to motivate. It seems like such a simple prospect, you find what motivates you and use that to pull yourself through whatever you’re working on.

Lately, that hasn’t really helped me out.

My background being education, I’ve tried intrinsic motivators and extrinsic motivators. I’ve tried a punishment and reward system. Everything seems to be falling apart, and I’m so used to being highly motivated that it’s really bringing me down.

Combing through the Carnival of the Capitalists this morning, I read an article that really made me start thinking. There will always be education’s view on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation…but what if the nature vs. nurture argument for intelligence and temperament spilled over into the motivation arena.

It really doesn’t resolve my problem because I happen to have a motivated parent and a life history of being overly motivated at times, but what if motivation was a habit that could be defined as a by-product of your inborn traits or your environment? Think about it- You could theoretically train yourself to be more motivated. Does this defy the intrinsic vs. extrinsic fight, or does it perhaps build on it? The idea is that you start a child with extrinsic motivators and gradually move them to intrinsic motivators. It should work for adults, too.

This doesn’t even begin to consider the concept of internal vs external pressure, which I suspect would play a large part in the situation, too.

I may have to think on this one for a bit…


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