Stunning Motivation

Getting the Motivation You Need for Success

7 Most Common Examples of Intrinsic Motivation that Drive You

intrinsic motivation examples

Do you know why you do what you do? What are the forces that drive you to take action? Our motivation is usually the purpose behind why we do the things that we do. And motivation can be classified into two main categories, intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation is one of the most underestimated forms of forces that drive people, yet most people have no idea why they do what they do.

And because intrinsic motivation comes from within, most people are unaware of it. They thought that it is the thing, the physical item such as a car or a house that motivates them to achieve higher success in life.

In fact, it is really not.

Consider the reason you read this article. Why do you read it?

If you are reading this article because you are curious and you want to learn more about yourself, that is a form of intrinsic motivation.

On the other hand, if you are reading this article because you need to submit your homework so that you can score an A, then that, my friend, is an extrinsic motivation.

To make it simple, intrinsic motivation comes from within you, whereas extrinsic motivation comes from the outside.

If you want to learn about the differences between these two powerful forces that shape our lives, read this article from

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: What’s the Difference?

Why Do You Need to be Intrinsically Motivated?

Intrinsic motivation is a powerful hidden force that can ultimately shape your destiny. If you don’t put it to good use, it can work against you.

Like a double-edged sword, intrinsic motivation and work FOR you or AGAINST you. So you want to be careful about this.

This is why intrinsic motivation is important. Below are some benefits that you should understand about this type of motivation:

1. You are able to focus better

Yes, when you have identified your intrinsic motivation and you know exactly why you work on something, you become less likely to be distracted.

This is why you are able to focus better when you understand yourself better.

For instance, when you know that your phone is just a communication device for you, and when Apple or Samsung launches a new model, you will not be intrigued to change your phone.

Ever wonder why some people are often influenced by others?

  • When they see someone buy the latest phone, they want it.
  • When they see that their friends are having a vacation in Europe and share the pictures on Facebook, they make visiting Europe their goals.
  • When they see someone else is making some money from the internet, they decided to jump in and want to start their own online business too.

This is what happens when you are unclear about what motivates you.

You become easily influenced by others. When you know exactly what drives you, you will become more focused.

2. Your level of confidence and fulfillment soared

Another important reason to understand what is the intrinsic motivation that drives you is because when you know why you do what you do, you become more confident.

Not just that, because you understand that you are doing something for your own purpose, you become more fulfilled.

What others say about you become less of an impact. In other words, you are able to ignore the naysayers when you understand your purpose.

People are often distracted and they gave up on what they pursue in life because they don’t have a strong intrinsic motivation.

Whenever someone tells them that what they want to achieve is impossible, they started to doubt themselves.

And whenever they are not seeing the results that they want after a short period of time, they choose to give up and do something else instead.

3. You become happier and are more satisfied

Do you feel that it is difficult for you to stay happy or satisfy with what you have in life? If so, maybe you are unaware of your intrinsic motivation.

When you know your intrinsic motivation, you become happier because you are doing things according to your own pace and living life according to your own terms.

On the other hand, because you are happily working and living in your own ‘inner world’, your sense self-fulfillment and self-worth will be higher.

You understand what you want, and you are working on it. This makes you happy. And when you make progress, you feel extremely fulfilled.

The 7 Most Common Examples of Intrinsic Motivation

Now that you know why knowing what motivates you is important, it is time for us to find out what are the common inner forces that drive most people in life.

People can be motivated by many things in life. What motivates you to achieve something can be totally different from me.

Take buying a car as an example.

You may want to drive a BMW because you want to feel proud and enjoy the “you-have-made-it” feeling.

But for me, I may want to drive a Volvo because it gives me a sense of security.

Therefore, when our intrinsic motivation is different, the choices and decisions we make in life will be different.

So go through these 7 common examples below and let me know which is the intrinsic motivation that drives you to achieve the success you want in life.

1. Responsibility

Regardless of whether your age and where you are, we all are motivated by the sense of responsibility.

If you are a father, you know it very well how this powerful inner force can drive to work harder to maintain your family and to provide at least the basic necessities to your family.

When you work in a company, you feel the responsibility to maintain your work performance and to get the work done. Sometimes it is not because that you are paid to do so, but because you feel responsible to complete the work.

The feeling of responsibility is a powerful force that can shape your life.

In the Chinese culture, they have a saying such as, “build a family and then career”. If you can read Chinese, here are the words, 成家立业.

What it means is that family comes first before career. And it is never the other way round.

When you have a family, you will feel the responsibility to work harder, to take care, and to provide your family a better living. This is why after you have had your family, you will have your career.

Additional resources: Read this article from to learn how to take responsibility for your life.

2. Recognition, Accomplishment, and Success

This is a common one. We all want to achieve great success in life, right? Who doesn’t?

And if you are trying to achieve something extraordinary, perhaps, one of the main intrinsic motivation is because you are pursuing the feeling of accomplishment, of success, and being recognized as, “the man who has made it”.

For instance, when you did a great job in your company, you are promoted, and your boss praise you publicly, it makes your motivation soar.

You become more hard work and your productivity tripled. You are more willing to spend more time at work and you strive to make your company the best in the industry.

Thus, if you are driven by accomplishments, success, and recognition, one thing you can do to boost your motivation is to celebrate your wins every time.

Even if it is just a small win, share the good in your social media. Tell a friend. Give yourself a pat on the back. Give a high-five to your team.

The more you celebrate your success, the more intrinsically motivated you will become.

3. Passion

Are you feeling passionate about what you do? If you don’t have the passion, you are going to give up when things become tough.

Take cycling as an example. When you cycle uphill on a steep slope, it is extremely challenging. And this is where you can see people stop, get down from their bikes, and choose to walk and push their bikes instead.

However, when you are absolutely passionate about cycling, you will take on the challenge and peddle at your best.

You will put in more energy and work harder because you are so passionate and you love the feeling of it.

Steve Jobs said it perfectly:

[ctt template=”9″ link=”46SD5″ via=”no” ]”The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”[/ctt]

So align what you do with your passion. When your passion is driving you, you can go much further than if you are doing something you don’t like.

If you have no idea how to discover your passion in life, check out this article:

7 Clear Signs That You Have Discovered Your Passion in Life

4. Satisfaction and Fulfillment

Another intrinsic motivation example is satisfaction and fulfillment.

The best scenario to describe this is selling. The majority of us hate to sell. I must confess that I don’t like to get rejected by people.

When I was selling real estate, I don’t like to do prospecting calls. Nobody likes to do it even though prospecting is the most important part of sales success.

However, I do enjoy every time I close a sale. Whenever I successfully sold a property, I feel extremely satisfied and fulfilled. My mood soared and my motivation will be an all-time high.

And this feeling can be the kind of drive that gets you going each day. You may dislike doing a certain part of your job, but at the end of the day, you feel good and fulfilled through the hard work and results you get.

When your fulfillment and satisfaction are attached to your effort and progress, you are more easily motivated to take action.

So what you can do to boost this intrinsic motivation is to focus on making progress, not the results.

When you focus on the results and you are not getting any of them, you feel dejected. You will quickly lose steam and then just quit. This is why the employee turnover rate in the sales industry is high.

On the other hand, focus on making progress. As long as you take some form of action, you should celebrate and feel good.

5. Significance and Legacy

Why do you think highly successful people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and many more, continue to work when they have made so much money in their lives?

They can just stop and take a vacation and enjoy the rests of their lives. But why do they continue to work harder, to face challenges, to go through tough times, and to get criticized?

The answer is simple, significance. They want to do something that is truly creating values to others. They want to help others. They have a bigger than themselves vision that they want to achieve.

Take Elon Musk as an example. He could just stop after PayPal was sold to eBay. He made over a hundred million from there. And if he is to spend a million dollars a year, he can live for a hundred years.

However, Musk decided to start Tesla and SpaceX. He took the challenge and brought electric vehicles to a high performance that changed how we look at things.

Not to mention SpaceX. When everyone is trying to learn to build a blog or create an e-commerce store, Musk builds rockets.

He wants to make interstellar travel a reality for everyone. He wants everyone to be able to travel into space like how we travel in the air with airplanes.

This is what I mean by significance. When you are motivated to do something that is beyond yourself, you are chasing significance.

Small significance can be as simple as driven to help someone who is in need. And the big ones can be as significant as helping to make the world a better place.

Here’s a video from Dan Lok, a successful internet marketer. I STRONGLY suggest you watch this video.

It is extremely inspirational and Dan got it perfectly. He explained what it means to pursue significance in life. Watch the video below:

So what kind of impact you want to create? What kind of legacy want to leave behind to your community and to the world?

6. Curiosity and Knowledge

One of Albert Einstein quotes is this:

[ctt template=”9″ link=”9Gre3″ via=”no” ]“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”[/ctt]

Some people, like Einstein, are intrinsically motivated by curiosity. There is always something new to discover.

Do you like adventure? It’s fun, right? When you watch movies like Pirates of Caribbean or Lord of the Ring, do you feel the adventurous feeling when the heroes sail the seas and cross the mysterious mountains?

This is the kind of drive that makes you want to discover more.

If you have played games before, it can be any game, I bet that sometimes you will have the curiosity to continue to play because you want to unlock a new power or you just want to know how the story ends.

This is what Einstein also said:

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.”

Thus, if you want to be motivated by this force, allow yourself to be curious. Like what Steve Jobs said, “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”

You must dare to set sail and get out of your comfort zone to discover what lies ahead.

7. The sense of Security VS Adventure

If you have a choice, do you want to go bungee jump or do you want to visit the museum?

Your choice reflects your values, which in a way, also says if you are someone who is driven by security, or not.

I have shared with you why some people choose to drive a BMW and why there are also people choose to drive a Volvo.

Chances are, people who choose to drive a Volvo may be more motivated by the sense of security.

If you are intrinsically motivated by security, you will never want to take a bungee jump. You will never want to involve yourself in any extreme activity or hobby that can put your life in danger.

On the contrary, people who love adventure will want to try out things that make them thrilled.

They will want to try out the crazy roller-coaster and go skydive.

Hence, understand if you are motivated by security or adventure. When you know this intrinsic motivation, you can make a better choice in life.

When you understand yourself better, you will make the right decision that fits into your inner values.


So, from the above 7 examples of intrinsic motivation, did you manage to find out your dominant drive?

We are all motivated by all kinds of reasons, but sometimes, we tend to be driven by just one of them.

What you can do is to try to make conscious choices and decisions in harmony with your inner drives.

When you align your life with your intrinsic motivation, you can achieve much more, perform better, and feel inspired more.

Thus, tell me, which one of the intrinsic drives above motivates you the most?

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About Shawn Lim

I'm a blogger, writer, and also an internet entrepreneur. If you want to learn more about me, kindly go to the About page. By the way, have you downloaded your FREE copy of Active Goal Setting? Don't forget to do so. :)

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