Staying intrinsically motivated…

The number one task of anyone, in any position, anywhere in the world, should be to stay intrinsically motivated. In anything that we do in life, we must stay motivated within the realms of our own grasp, with our own passion and love propelling us forward like a helicopter. Unfortunately, unless you’re able to wake up one day and come to full enlightenment like Eckhart Tolle, that is unrealistic for the vast majority of us.

You may think – ‘well, that’s a pessimistic mindset, Rhys.’ I agree. Going through a degree in Recreation & Leisure, I constantly learned of the importance of ‘intrinsic motivation’ – discussed as some sort of easily achievable feat. When you take a walk around the slow-moving clock of life, you realize that as human beings, we desperately crave external motivation. We desperately crave money, and we feel devalued when we are not paid our worth. We desperately crave love and affection from others, including words and actions that affirm our efforts. Depending on how you give and receive love (and if you believe in love languages altogether), you may even be someone that values gifts or acts of service when you put in the work.

We’re taught to think of this process as linear. We put in the work, that hard work pays off in success, and we receive some kind of retribution for that work – whether it be positive affirmation, money, the admiration of others, a trophy, or all of those wonders and more. Not to be Eeyore again, but this line of thinking only creates stress. Our burning need for reward will inevitably be bound to go unmet. The process of putting in work and then reaping the rewards is not only a fallacy, but a process that never enters the realm of linearity. It’s about as linear as the charging chord for a phone. It might start out straight and pristine at the very beginning, but soon there will be a loopty loop, twist, turn, bend…perhaps even a crack. That is – we may receive some kind of retribution for our success, but it may not always be the type of reward we’re looking for; and it may not even come right away.

So what does that mean? Well, you need to be prepared for the fact that nobody will serve that love language you require on a platter. Nobody will tell you you’re doing a good job. If you are someone that appreciates words of affirmation, you may need to be the one that speaks what everyone else wouldn’t dare to say. If you are someone that loves gifts catered toward you and your fantastic work, you may need to play the role of Santa. If you love acts of service, you might even realize that no one is going to do things for you, and that you need to start doing things for yourself. The realization of this fact can only help you strive toward intrinsic motivation. You must be the one to keep yourself in check. You must be the one to celebrate your success stories. It’s a pessimistic viewpoint, yes. But one that will help you strive toward positivity within the inevitable disappointments of life; and toward whatever it is that you’re chasing in life.

In my dream organization, as part of my dream world, human beings strive to always positively affirm the efforts of others, and find the good in the situation even when the charging chord has exploded into a thousand wires. But in a post-pandemic world, I often find that we as humans are wired to scan for the negative, and scan for the problems. Rather than scanning for all the challenges and difficulties in life that we should strive to meet head on, we’re scanning for how we can avoid any situation at any turn. With this recognition in mind, I am going to endeavour to scan for the positive in life, and work to positively reaffirm others in a way that suits their needs. But this not only includes the work of others, but the work of myself. After all, I need to be the one to celebrate my success stories.


Rhys Desmond is a writer, coach and personal development enthusiast. If you are interested in getting in touch, please use the form or social media links below.


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