Monkeys

The start of building something and seeing it realized can be exciting.

Last post was all about a broader stroke on the topic of motivators. Two kinds to be specific, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic, the better one to really establish behaviors we want to see or desire in our work/life are the ones we want as our foundation. Placing intrinsic motivators over that of exterior ones are hard. We’re emotional in our short term focuses, loving when we get immediate hits or rewards which mostly are extrinsic in nature. Intrinsic takes a little more time to feel as a reward and find as they takes longer to realize.

Harry Harlowe made a discovery in 1949 that disapproved the theory that it was assumed human and animal behavior was controlled by any exterior motivations.

He gave eight Rhesus monkeys a mechanical puzzle. Since the primates would not receive either rewards nor praise if they solved the puzzle, he was convinced they would not concern themselves with it.

However, the monkeys gave it a go, recognized how it worked, and without any exterior incentives, solved it with great enjoyment. Such behavior is also typical for us humans.

Have you just picked up something for pure enjoyment and just decided to do it with out any motivation externally to do so? Why do you think that is? I’m sure you have at some time. For me it was just building LEGOs. I don’t know what I did it, but wow did I find some enjoyment in creating these amazing little things out of a pile of bricks. I loved creating and building something. I enjoy being hands on with my work and drives. I got a kick at the end when I finally saw the creation realized. Motivation is not driven then by basic needs, rewards, or sanctions. So then how can it be explained?

Intrinsically motivated people want to be able to dictate when they work, what they work on, and what they are responsible for. They do not need to be directed or rewarded, because they enjoy working and do so voluntarily, without demanding anything in return. The simple reason when I went deeper on why I really enjoy building something that can be as complex as 1,000+ piece brick puzzle is I like the challenge of creating. I like to build physically and mentally in my work. I love the challenge I in getting to figure out the puzzle, to problem solve. I wonder if that is how those Rhesus monkeys felt?

Once you find the intrinsic reasons you like to do things in a voluntarily way, you can find pleasure with out reward or exterior motivators in anything you do. Find that place of excitement by going deep. Even in the most hated jobs or lifestyle tasks you have there lies in waiting a way to connect it to your deepest values. There you will find your what and why to do it. There you will find peace and excitement again.

The finished project when we fuel it intrinsically is euphoric!

Thanks for reading!

✌🏻 Shawn

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