Monday, September 21, 2009

intrinsic vs extrinsic motivators

we are going to discuss the two types of motivation and how that applies to a man's life. this post is about getting you off your ass and finding the motivation to do something.

there are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. intrinsic motivators originate from the inside of a person. it's his sense of purpose. to the outsider, it seems he does it for no reason other than for the love of it.

extrinsic motivators originate from the outside of a person. to the outsider, there are clear reasons why that person does what he does: money, fame, women, etc. he seeks out those tangible rewards for doing what he does.

however, it is important to note that just because someone does not get those tangible rewards does not mean their motivations are intrinsic and just because someone is rich, famous, and surrounded by women does not mean the reason they do what they do is extrinsic.

both van goh and picasso created masterpieces that sell for millions today, yet one died broke and without an ear and the other was one of the richest living artists. one felt unappreciated and misunderstood, selling not a single piece during his lifetime, and the other could not give two shits what others could or could not afford to pay for his work. one sought recognition from the art world, one pursued his artistic impulse.

often times, the intrinsically driven are the most financially successful in the world. both donald trump and bill gates stopped needing fame or fortune by the time they earned their first million and certainly their first hundred million. yet their love for what they did kept them going until they changed the way business was done, not to mention the landscape of technology and real estate.

and even those intrinsically-driven individuals that aren't financially successful find a great degree of happiness in knowing they are doing what they truly enjoy doing. as with the financially successful, their motivators, their rewards, their definitions and signals of success come from the way they feel inside rather than from any outside source.

it is hard to point to an example of someone who is intrinsically motivated, yet unsuccessful by society's standards. their lack of fame makes it hard for them to be recognizable. but we all know them. their lives aren't much different from our own. they live next to us, have the same job, know the same people and despite not being rich, famous, or particularly good with women (or people), seem to be happy nonetheless.

it's because they define success on their own terms. the reasons for doing what they do come from inside them rather than from "society." the natural question to ask then is "how do they define success?" simple. they define success in a way that lets them feel they can and do achieve it. it feels daunting to feel like you've gotta earn a million bucks by the time you're 30. yet it is easy to do and believe you can tie your shoelaces, pay the rent on time, or enjoy sharing a few laughs.

success is not about how much money you earn, but rather whether you accomplish your goal or not. those who are intrinsically motivated have not only very different reasons for doing what they do, they seek to do very different things.

take the men who want nothing more than to sleep with many different women. they may do just that. being extrinsically motivated is not a guarantee of failure to achieve external rewards. external rewards are quite nice.

but in the case of men who want to sleep with many different women and fail to do that, the one who is intrinsically motivated will end up being much happier. his reason for trying to sleep with them comes from the inside - his love for women and their company. his rewards are small and enough to keep him trying in the face of many obstacles. he enjoys talking and flirting with them. he enjoys touching them. he enjoys just being surrounded by them. the sex is nice if it happens. but it's fine if it doesn't. he's gotten what he wanted despite not getting his freak on.

now, the extrinsically motivated man will only judge his success by the fact that he has had sex with a woman. any failure to do so crushes his morale and sense of worth. he is unable to appreciate any joys he shared with a girl if he does not have sex with her.

i mention the word "enjoy" a lot in this post. yet "enjoy" is such an ambiguous word. i enjoy a slice of pizza and watching a movie with my girlfriend. the thought of skydiving terrifies me. you could enjoy doing something else. but our sense of enjoyment does share something in common. it comes from the doing, not the achieving.

enjoyment is about the pleasurable sensations we feel emotionally, mentally, and/or physically when doing something. they say a shark must swim or die. the intrinsically motivated do or be miserable.

despite van goh's lack of financial success, you can bet the world stopped turning for the joy he felt while painting. his desire to paint and express himself visually was intrinsically driven. why else paint and live the life of a pauper when there were surer ways to earn lots of money? why else pursue an artistic style few understood when he clearly had the ability to do something more commercially viable?

extrinsic and intrinsic motivators do not exist in a vacuum. people's reasons for doing things are often some mix of the two. it's hard to say bill gates or donald trump did what they did just for the love of the game. and its hard to say that ladies men who surround themselves with women would be happy living the life of celibacy. money certainly was and is a motivating factor, and an effective one at that. as is popularity. and sex.

but to be happy, a reason for doing must exist beyond those external factors. doing must also be done for the sake and joy of doing. if you focus so much on the end game, on the signs of success, you lose sight of the joy that can be had in the doing.

it's like having sex just to cum. cumming is amazing. but sex is awesome even without cumming. making out is awesome even if the clothes don't come off. going in for the kiss is fun even if she turns her cheek. getting high off her giggles is a moment enjoyed even if she is taken. being her friend is a blessing even without the benefits. and those who are only motivated extrinsically cannot enjoy women unless they cum.

don't be that guy. find reasons to enjoy the process. find your intrinsic motivators.


  1. Three words Dirk: Write Your Book! :-) I absolutely love your writings, and hope you keep sharing your insights with the world. It seems that not many people seem to comment here, so i hope that doesn't discourage you (in other words, that you keep being intrinsically motivated ;-). Actually, the only reason why i don't visit this page every day, is because "not keyboardjockeying so much" was on my new year's resolutions. Really man, i think you could easily publish an awesome book with your perspectives. I'll be one of the first to buy a copy ;-)

    Rock on dude, you're the best!


  2. thanks, pieter. if i can think of a way to write a "how to get laid" book differently from all the other ones already out there, i'll do it.

    as far as the lack of comments, i'm cool with it. it's nice to see responses, but i assume that if anyone is reading my blog, they have applied this stuff and are so busy getting laid, they don't need to come back.

    i am curious about what future articles my readers would like to see on this blog though.

    any suggestions?

  3. Hey Dirk!

    I've been thinking about some suggestions for your blog. Here's one of my personal BIG hangups: my lack of sexual experience, and lack of serious relationships. I feel like i don't have a "sexual identity", because of my lack of experience with having sex with women, and having relationships. I feel a lot like i have to hide this, since that seems like the smartest thing to do. I have a feeling women and people in general can SMELL it, though. I feel uncomfortable touching women and looking them in the eyes, just because my desire is so big towards them. I get shy, because the feelings are overwhelming (especially when i'm talking to REALLY sexy women). The only girls i can more or less feel completely no shyness towards, are the ones i'm not attracted to :-)

    You can't exactly brag to everybody you're an almost virgin, and have only had sex with prostitutes. With me personally, this comes along with a feeling of "unworthiness in the world of having sex with beautiful women".

    So, i guess my suggestion for one of your blog posts would be, how you, Dirk Manley, would handle being a virgin in his late twenties, or having a big lack of experience with women in general. I presume having read your posts, you'll say it doesn't really matter if you focus on what you want, but i'm curious what you would have to say about this subject.

    Rock on dude, and thanks again for your blog posts!