Internal Versus External Motivation

Internal Versus External MotivationWhat motivates you? Is it the desire to be better than the guy in the suite or cube next to yours? Or the desire to be better than who you were yesterday? The difference between these two questions can make a big difference in your success.

If your motivation comes from external factors — getting more clients than your competitor, making more money, being liked the most — that’s your ego talking. And egos are fragile things. If you measure yourself by what other people say about you or how you’re doing in relation to other people, one bad piece of gossip or on less-than-stellar quarter could cause insecurity. And trying to function under a cloud of insecurity is often impossible and can be extremely unattractive to potential clients and partners.

Conversely, if you’re motivated by internal factors — your passion, your desire to help others be better, your desire to be the person you want to be — you could find success more easily. Idle gossip can’t affect you if you know that you’re doing what you love, helping others succeed, and inching closer to who you want to be when you grow up.

If you follow us on Facebook, you likely saw an article we recently posted from that asks the question: Is Ego Limiting Your Ability to Succeed? In the article, the author discusses how to transform your external motivating factors to internal motivating factors and get your ego out of the way. If you’re following a career path because you’re still trying to please your father, stop it. Find something you love and pursue that instead. That’s a simple shift from external motivation to internal motivation. Okay — maybe not so simple in practice, but that’s the idea.

The author quotes Steve Jobs’ speech to Stanford’s 2004 graduating class. “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” That’s the idea here. Listen to your inner voice and it’ll always lead you to success.

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