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Robert S. Kaplan is president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Previously, he was the Senior Associate Dean for External Relations and Martin Marshall Professor of[…]

Make sure whatever job you pick has enough intrinsic motivators in it that you can enjoy it long enough to get to your goal.

So-called extrinsic motivators are things on the outside, money, status, visible accomplishments can easily be extrinsic motivators.  Views of others are extrinsic motivators, reinforcement from others.  

Intrinsic motivators are things like how interesting is the task, satisfaction, belief in a mission, enjoyment of peers.  And what I always say to people is one is not better than the other, but my experience is extrinsic motivators tend to be back-end loaded, they tend to be delayed. They tend to be things that come to you after many, many years unless you happen to be, you know, a college athlete or something.  But most of the time it takes years to get those accolades.  

Intrinsic motivators are now.  You get those every day when you come in.  And what I’ve found is if you’re doing a job or you’re choosing a profession or you’re doing something that’s driven by primarily extrinsic motivators you better have some of the intrinsic ones because you’re never going to make it long enough to get the extrinsic motivators if you don’t.  You’ve got to enjoy what you’re doing.  You’ve got to have a passion for what you’re doing in order to do something at a sustainable level of success for a long period of time.  There is a high correlation between performing at a very high level of success and having some of these intrinsic motivators.  

And so I’m not saying if you say you want money and that’s the number one thing, fine.  I’m not – who am I to argue with you.  But make sure whatever job you pick, if that’s what you want, has enough intrinsic motivators in it that you can enjoy it long enough to get there.  And so people need to focus much more on intrinsic motivators probably than they do.  

It’s easier to measure extrinsic motivators.  Intrinsic motivators only you know.  I know whether somebody has a lot of money, we can measure that.  I don’t know how much I enjoy a task.  Only I can answer that question.  No one else can tell me the answer to that.  And so I’m trying to get, again, people to take ownership of that.

Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd