Intrinsic Motivation: How to Pick Up Healthy Motivation Techniques
What Is Intrinsic Motivation?
Motivations are what drive us towards our goals and actions. They motivate us to do things because they make sense, or at least seem like it does. If something doesn’t make sense then we don’t act on it.
But if it makes sense, then why not? Why not just go with your instincts and impulses instead of rational thought?
Well, there’s a reason why we have to think about it. Our brains evolved to solve problems that faced our ancestors when survival was at stake. When our ancestors had no way of knowing whether their food would be safe from predators or not, they needed to take action immediately. For example, if someone was trying to steal some fruit from them right now (and they weren’t very good at hiding), they’d probably run away and hide until the threat passed by. However, if they were hungry, they might eat the fruit right now. And since eating a piece of fruit seems like a logical thing to do, they’ll likely feel better about themselves after doing so. So the brain evolved into being able to handle situations where immediate survival was at stake.
However, in modern society we’re not always facing such dangers anymore. We have access to all kinds of technology that helps us survive in many ways and even gives us pleasure (e.g.
technology often gives us comfort, allows us to talk to people thousands of miles away, entertain ourselves through various media, and so on). The only thing technology can’t do is make food taste better. But still, this doesn’t mean our brain has evolved enough to handle these new situations optimally. In fact, there’s a lot of things the human brain didn’t evolve to handle. Try balancing a checkbook, for example. It’s a confusing and ambiguous task for most people, because our brains just weren’t built for that kind of thing.
So it should come as no surprise that our brains didn’t evolve to handle all the complexities of modern society.
But what does this have to do with motivation?
Well, motivation is what gets us to take action in the first place. And many times we don’t feel motivated enough to pursue things that we really want. This is called a lack of motivation.
But why do we lack motivation?
Actually, it’s pretty simple. When our ancestors didn’t feel like running away from a predator right now, they got eaten. When they felt like eating some fruit, they also ate the fruit. And when they felt like running away from a predator again, they did so. Everything you feel gives you some kind of reward (either positive or negative), which is no different for your feelings of “lacking motivation.” The difference is that lacking motivation doesn’t kill you nowadays, but it might still be stopping you from reaching your goals.
So how do we fix this?
Well, we could just start taking actions more often and hope for the best. If you fall into a hole, you might get injured. But if you get lucky, you won’t. The problem with this approach, however, is that it’s very dangerous. If you do something too risky, you might really get hurt. And if you just take slightly more risks than you’re used to, you’ll end up failing at your goals a lot more often than you needs to.
So what’s the solution? How can we be sure that we’ll succeed in reaching our goals, without taking unnecessary risks in the process?
Well, the secret is to eliminate the unnecessary risks altogether. In other words, we want to minimize our risk.
That’s what this book is all about. This book will teach you how to identify and minimize the risks involved in trying to reach your goals. Now I want to stress that this is not a get rich quick scheme.
If you’re looking for some secret that will enable you to suddenly become successful without working for it, then you won’t like this book. But if you’re serious about reaching your goals, then I can help.
This book is broken up into a few chapters. Most of them teach you about various risk types and how to minimize them. One of the chapters is example problems.
Try to answer these without looking at the answers (though you may check the answers in the back if you want). Try to solve them yourself. If you get stuck on one, then that’s a good sign that you need to learn more about that kind of risk.
Finally, try to apply what you learn as you go through the book. Make up your own examples and try to solve them. You’ll find that it gets easier with time as you learn more about the different types of risk.
Also, keep this book around for reference, because you’ll probably want to refer to it again in the future as you start taking bigger risks in your life.
The first chapter is about physical risks. We’ll learn what they are and how to minimize them.
Chapter 1: Physical Risks
Physical risks are those that involve your body in some way. Most of this book is not going to be about these risks, but it’s important to at least have a basic understanding of them before moving on to the later chapters. In this chapter, I’m going to go over some of the most common types of physical risks that people encounter in their lives.
Physical risks are not limited to the dangers that you might encounter in your day-to-day life. Some of these risks can be invited into your life through various ways. For example, you might volunteer to be a human experimental subject for some new medical treatment.
This takes a certain degree of risk because you’re essentially letting the doctors do things to your body that haven’t been proven safe (or at least effective). They might give you the placebo instead of the actual drug they think will work. They might give you too much and cause a negative reaction. Whatever happens, you’re letting them experiment on your body and thus taking the risk that something will go wrong.
Then there are the more immediate risks. These involve things like drunk drivers, violent criminals, unsafe products, and many other everyday things that can harm your body in some way. These are usually the types of physical risks that people think about first.
In a way, these types of risks are the easiest to deal with because they’re so easy to avoid. For example, you need never get in an airplane (and thus put yourself at risk of a plane crash) if you never hope to travel by air. The problem is, avoiding all risks of this type in modern society is practically impossible. The only way to truly ensure your safety is to live as a hermit in some far-off, uninhabited area.
Most of this book will not be about these types of risks because, quite frankly, you can’t do much to prevent them from happening. Even if you’re careful about the things you do, there’s always an element of risk that cannot be avoided. No matter what precautions you take, you can still get in a car accident on your way to work.
No matter what you do, someone could still break into your house while you’re there.
In some cases, the best you can do is minimize these risks. This means using your best judgment in any given situation and realizing that no matter what you do, there’s always a chance it can go wrong.
So before we get too far into this, you need to ask yourself one question: how much risk are you willing to tolerate?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this. It’s a personal question that you yourself must answer.
How much are you willing to risk in order to achieve your goals? Are the things you want in life worth risking your life for?
That’s for you to decide, but whatever you do, you need to realize there is always some element of risk present.
So once again, how much are you willing to risk?
That is the question.
Because if you’re not willing to risk it, then you won’t ever truly succeed at all. You’ll just be taking all the easy paths and never really accomplishing anything of note. That’s not a way to live your life.
If, on the other hand, you’re willing to truly take risks then I’ll teach you how. Not every single detail because part of living a risk involves Deal making. You cannot and should not rely on other people to do things for you.
As they say, no pain, no gain.
Below are the most common types of risks and how to deal with them:
Failing in some way: This is the worst result of any risk but it isn’t necessarily a bad one. Failing just means that you didn’t pass go, you didn’t collect $200, and you have to try something else. The key to failing is to fail faster.
Identify what’s not working and change it as soon as possible. Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Once you figure out what isn’t working, then you can try a new approach to the problem.
Falling behind: Sometimes, you’ll calculate the risks and take what you think is an acceptable risk only to find out that the actual risk involved was higher than you thought. It happens to everyone. But once again, the key to dealing with it is to identify what’s not working and fix it as soon as possible.
If you find that the risk was too high, then don’t get discouraged. This is a learning experience. You can either keep that information in mind for next time or learn from others’ mistakes by reading books or talking to people who have more experience than you do in that field.
Amoral and/or illegal activities: I can’t teach you how to be a criminal as that’s not something I’m personally skilled in. (Plus I have enough trouble reporting on them without becoming one.) If you’re considering doing something like that, I strongly advise against it.
But if your goals are so important to you that you’re willing to compromise your own morals then be careful and learn everything you can before you take that plunge. But once again, I strongly advise against it as the risks are very high and you’re more likely to get caught rather than reap the rewards.
Also, if you’re considering doing something illegal, please don’t do it to the people that I know.
Finally, realize that the combination of risking your life and breaking the law is an especially bad one. The potential for things to go horribly wrong are extremely high and they usually involve getting killed or spending the rest of your life in prison.
What to do if you live in a highly populated area
Living in a place with a high population is probably going to make your life more difficult when it comes to risk taking. There are more people around so the chances of someone seeing you make a mistake or seeing someone else make a mistake and having that be your fault are greater. This causes two major problems:
1) There will be more people around to get in the way of your plans.
2) The chances of you being able to cover up your mistakes are going to be lower.
If you live in a highly populated area then you need to take extra steps to prepare. A lot of the times when people take risks they do it on impulse. They don’t do any planning ahead of time and just go for it.
This is very foolish. Rehearsing an escapade in your mind over and over again is not going to make you numb to the risks involved. It’s very important that you go through every scenario of what could possibly happen before you execute your plan. Preparation is essential for people who live in high population areas.
There’s going to be a lot more people around to get in your way so you need to make sure you have an escape route planned out well in advance. You should always have an alternate plan as well in case something unexpected happens.
Also realize that there are more people around to help the authorities identify you. This means you should take even greater pains to make sure that no one sees you and even if they do, they don’t get a good look at your face. A bandit with a ski mask on for the entire robbery isn’t going to get away with it like he would in a low population town.
The best robbers are the ones who can do their work without ever being identified. Try to be like them and always make sure you’re careful.
Finally, living in a highly populated area has its advantages since there are more people to blend in with and get lost in the crowd.
What to do if you live in a low population area
This may seem like an ideal situation but it really isn’t. It may be the opposite of what most people think but it is true. The main problem with low population areas is when something bad or violent happens, it tends to stick out like a sore thumb.
A robbery, a mine explosion, a train robbery, etc. all of these things are going to attract attention in an otherwise quiet little town that has no crime. This is why most bandits prefer to hunt out in the wilderness.
If you’re going to be pulling heists or robberies then it’s best to move into a more urban area for a while to hide out since it’s harder to find someone amongst the masses. Most bandits who do this move from town to town and never stay in one place for too long.
If you’re going to be working in a low population area then you need to make sure that you’re careful about leaving evidence around and being seen in the aftermath of your crime. In this situation it might be best to have an alibi planned out ahead of time for the day of the crime. It’s also a good idea to have different people involved so that not all of you can be put in jail at the same time.
If you aren’t going to bother with all that then it might be best if you didn’t commit any serious crimes since it might be easier to track you down if you leave evidence around.
I personally would just recommend going to a bigger city and stealing from the train there since there’s more money and less risk involved.
Also realize that if you’re going to be working in the wilderness then you’re going to have to get food and supplies from somewhere. Small mining towns tend to have very few people in them so they aren’t too much of a risk. The larger cities are much more risky since the police tend to be better and have more men.
What to do if you live in a medium population area
Chances are, if you’re living in this sort of area then you’re probably a little further away from the mining towns so it isn’t worth the trip to go rob them. This is good since there’s more people around to get lost in the crowd. Still, you have to be careful since the police are always on the lookout for criminals in general and most people are more willing to deal with a crime when it’s happening right in front of their eyes.
You also have to worry about competition since other criminals might be living here as well. Generally this isn’t too much of a problem since bandits tend to be more anti-social and they usually end up killing each other. Still, it never hurts to be aware of your surroundings and not piss off a wanted bandit since he might just come back to get even if you’re hiding out from the law.
Last but not least, if there’s a marshal in town then the wanted post will stay up longer since he’ll make a point of keeping it up for longer since he’s paid well to protect people. It is in your best interest to not be around when a lawman starts making extra effort.
This is why if you’re going to be living in a medium town then it’s best to stick with low key crimes such as small burglaries and pick pocketing. People aren’t likely to report a few gold pieces missing from their homes and the occasional shop owner is going to blame the merchant next to him. It isn’t until you start ripping off the local bank that the law starts taking a closer look at you.
Also realize that you aren’t just committing crimes against people, you’re also stealing from the town itself since the city and the people running it are what give the place its purpose. This isn’t Tamar or Quala where the ruling class consists of nothing but corrupt bastards who care nothing for the people. If you end up murdering someone, the guards will actively search for you and the rest of the citizens will actively help.
You can’t just blend in here like you could back in your home town so you’re always at risk of being recognized.
You have to be extra careful since there are more potential witnesses around and people aren’t likely to turn a blind eye to crime.
What to do if you live in a population center (City)
The large centers of civilization such as Klyton, Hessla or the Delantium Kingdom are going to be the toughest places to live by far. Not only are the cops much tougher here, but the average citizen is more likely to have some fighting skill and not be a snitch. The fact that these places attract more ambitious people to move there doesn’t help either.
There’s always potential competition everywhere you go.
Still, the large population centers have their advantages. There’s more places to hide and more people to blend in with. Also, there’s so much crime going on that the local police have their hands full just trying to maintain some semblance of order.
If you do commit a crime and the police get involved, it’s less likely that you’ll actually get identified since there are so many people around. Just be sure to keep your mouth shut and not brag to people you’re close to.
Even though the law is busy enough with keeping some sort of order, don’t think they won’t still pay attention to you if you do something bad since the citizens are always ready to point the finger.
The militia aren’t complete idiots either and will make a extra effort to track you down if a serious crime has been committed such as murdering a citizen. This is why it’s a good idea to keep on the move since staying in one place for too long is just asking for trouble.
Constant movement also keeps you from developing ties to the community and becoming less likely to want to harm others. Remember your goal is to survive and take whatever steps are necessary to achieve that goal.
After all, the longer you stay out there the more likely you are to be identified and captured by the militia.
What to do if you live in a small town
Small towns are pretty relaxed when it comes to law enforcement. If someone is robbed, chances are the local sheriff is going to blame it on some outsider which everyone knows anyway and just let it go. If the same sheriff doesn’t care, neither does the rest of the town.
Small time crooks from other towns know this as well and that’s why they tend to go to these places to pull off their capers. If they get caught, it’s no big deal.
The main problem living in a small town is that if you want to achieve your goals, you’re going to have to leave the place at some point and go to a large city where the real money is. When you do this you have three options.
One, you can wait until the fall when the caravans come through town. You can tag along as extra security or even join up as a guard. This way you can hitch a ride to a large city and not need to worry about later returning since you’ll already be there.
Two, you can try to make it on your own. This means somehow acquiring or making a vehicle of some sort and leaving when it’s dark so no one notices you’re gone. Then you can just make whatever living you can as a highwayman until you’ve saved up enough to build up a nest egg and then go join a caravan.
It’s dangerous out there on your own, but it can be done.
Three, you can try to stick it out in this town and hope that things will get better for you here.
It’s up to you.
What to do if you live in a city
The first thing you need to decide is what city you live in. Each city is different in terms of crime and how the government there handles things.
One thing for sure though, just about every city has an underbelly of some sort and unless you’ve lived there your whole life, chances are you don’t know everything that goes on there.
Most citizens never see the true darkness that lies at the heart of their city. It’s possible you live in an exception, but unlikely.
Here’s a few of the better known cities and what they’re like.
Klyton: By default, Klyton is the most lawful of all the cities, but it’s still pretty well crime infested. The Klyton militia is ever vigilant and dedicated to keeping the city safe (or at least as safe as it can be). Most of the actual criminals are more inclined to join the Ebony Claw Syndicate since they offer better protection.
Equine: Also called “the Ivory City” because of its great love and respect for horses, which are used for almost every aspect of transportation in the city. It is also a major center for trade and diplomacy.
Ulig: Ulig might be known for its great wealth due to its huge deposits of precious stones, gold and silver, but it is also the most criminal infested. The militia there is largely corrupt and has been known to even side with bandits to increase profit sharing.
The Delantium Kingdom: This is a large kingdom that encompasses several cities (including Klyton). The city governments are fairly autonomous and the kingdom mainly just exists for matters of foreign diplomacy and war. Each city has its own methods of law enforcement, but all are bound together to protect the kingdom from external threats.
The Felkan Kingdom: This is sort of an odd kingdom. While it’s still quite militant and the capital is a common sight with soldiers marching back and forth, the outlying towns and cities seem to have more liberal views. Crime is less frowned upon as long as the taxes are paid.
There’s even a few small cites that have legalized prostitution, alcohol and gambling. The Felkan Kingdom also has a huge respect for mercenaries and any that are willing to fight for the kingdom get paid well.
The City State of Jicol: An island city-state that is heavily based on trade. Lots of merchants, pirates, smugglers and the like pass through here. The city guards are more concerned with keeping the port running smoothly than stopping crime.
Sources & references used in this article:
Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic incentives jointly predict performance: A 40-year meta-analysis. by CP Cerasoli, JM Nicklin, MT Ford – Psychological bulletin, 2014 – psycnet.apa.org
Intrinsic motivation in physical education by B Davies, N Nambiar, C Hemphill… – Journal of Physical …, 2015 – Taylor & Francis
Intrinsic motivation and flow by F Rheinberg, S Engeser – Motivation and action, 2018 – Springer
The coach–athlete relationship: A motivational model by Z Dörnyei – 2008 – Ernst Klett Sprachen