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Internal Motivation and Achieving Goals

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It is the captivating force that creates people of legends as well as the force that denounced them as failures. It is motivation. Both internal and external motivation determines whether a person will achieve their goal; however, only the compelling force of internal motivation ignites the burning passion of one’s aspiration into the inferno of success. Internal motivation is the flame of success because it provides the embers of longevity and practicality that external motivation does not.

Internal motivation refers to the behavior within an individual that can withstands the grueling pressures of life that tries to extinguish the blazing INFERNO of your success. Because internal motivation is not impacted by the unpredictable whims of outer circumstances, the lifespan of goals motivated internally is long. In his TED talk, “ How great leaders inspire action,”Simon Sinek explains this phenomenon by saying, “if you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money, but if they believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.” Internal motivation ensures that people will continue toward their goals in the face of competition, similar to the Wright brothers. Orville and Wilbur Wright were driven by their belief that if they could figure out a way to built a flying machine then it would change the course of the world. Therefore, they overcame both poverty and illiteracy to achieve their goal of having the first powered, sustained, and controlled airplane flight. Unlike the Harvard educated Samuel Pierpont Langley who gave up his goal because he was only motivated by the extrinsic desire of fame. Langley did not put in the much as effort as the Wright Brothers, proven by Langley’s inability to accomplish his goal when he had the resources to do so. (“Sinek, Simon “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”). Langley’s momentary objective proved not only that external motivation does not have longevity but also that it is not reliable a source to depend on.

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Internal motivation is practical because it relies on a person’s own dedication and mental capacities. For example, Samuel Pierpont Langley gave up on his goal of having the first powered, sustained, and controlled airplane flight because he depended on unpredictable feelings of admiration of others to motivate himself (“Sinek, Simon “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”). A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center is evidence to this ideology when 57% of Americans disagreed with the declaration, “Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control” . Therefore, the experiences of more than half of the United States population is verification that success is determined by an individual. Thus, any goal motivated externally is not as sustainable as a goal motivated internally. The reason for this is that the only obstacle in a goal motivated internally is self. William Glasser, an internationally acknowledged leader in the field of psychology, further supports this statement through his case studies in the book, Activating the Desire to Learn, that states, “What happens outside of us have a lot to do with what we choose to do, but the outside event does not cause our behavior. What we get, and all we ever get, from the outside is information; how we choose to act on that information is up to us. “(ss. 41)

Motivation is an important part of our lives because it determines what type of person we are. Internal motivation and external motivation determines whether we are a participants of change like the internally motivated Wright Brothers or speactors of conformity like externally motivated Samuel Pierpont Langley. Internal motivation enables people to thrive for their aspirations based on its practicality and longevity. By depending on the intrinsic motives of a person’s own resolve, unforeseen events outside a person’s control will not affect whether a person can accomplish their goal or how long that person will thrive toward a goal . As a result, anyone can accomplish the impossible.


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