Robert Kaplan, a professor at Harvard Business School and the author of What You’re Really Meant to Do: A Roadmap for Reaching Your Unique Potential, explains the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Money is extrinsic, and measurable. You can count how much money someone has. You can also observe what someone’s title is, or what their status is. But visible accomplishments like the accumulation of wealth take time.
As Kaplan explains in the video below, extrinsic motivators “tend to be back-end loaded, they tend to be delayed.” And so, as Kaplan points out, we need short-term rewards.
Intrinsic motivators, on the other hand, are things like the amount of interest you take in your work, the belief you have in your mission, and the satisfaction you can derive from your work, which may even be enjoyed along with your peers. We need these types of pay-offs as well, Kaplan says, if we hope to “do something at a sustainable level of success for a long period of time.”
And Kaplan says most people need to work on their intrinsic motivations. After all, these are much harder to measure and the only person who knows whether you are actually feeling fulfilled at what you do, is you.
This video is part of our series of the most popular videos of Summer 2013.
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