I watched a short webinar recently about finding your passions. It was done by this girl who is sort of a life coach and writes about that exact topic. I won't get into all the details, but one thing that stuck out to me was her definition and explanation of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivations. I think I already knew what they were, but never had them explained so concisely. Intrinsic motivation means you are motivated by the work itself, while extrinsic motivation is motivated by the outcome.
An example: If you love your work as an artist, you may not be so much as interested in the final product of the painting you just made, as much as you are in the process it took to get there. Each brush stroke has meaning. All the thoughts come together to create the mural. Yes, you are satisfied with the piece of art you show to people. But it holds more meaning to you because of the process it took to get there, and you enjoyed every minute of it.
In contrast, extrinsic motivations are incentives used to get to the end. You want to hurry and get it over with so you can move on to something different/better. More money is the obvious one. If you made a higher salary, do you think you will be happier? Extrinsic motivation thinks of the end. You want to sell as many products to make the most profit to make the company thrive to make the boss happy to get you a raise. Do you enjoy selling the product? Or are you trying to make a buck? Obviously, I am one-sided in my perspective, but I still participate in the incentives program.
Today's culture seems to be fueled by extrinsic motivation, except for the occasional guilt trip by a superior that you should enjoy your job, which in turn can cause another extrinsic motivation to act happy to get your boss off your back. Working on commission is supposed to encourage the employee to sell more because the employee should be motivated to make more money.
Sports are another example. Every football team wants to win the Superbowl. But how many athletes love to practice? I believe it is those who embrace every aspect of the game, including the practice, the sweat, the team camaraderie that are intrinsically motivated. When I swam in college, it wasn't until my senior year that I became intrinsically motivated. I actually loved going to practice. I enjoyed the way my body sliced through the water after working my body into shape. The pain was worth it because I felt better, stronger, afterwards. Of course I was motivated to win, but I think it was the intrinsic motivation that drove me to swim my personal best at the end of the season.
I have been able to enjoy intrinsic motivation in my climbing as well. Many people know I climb, but I think few people (other than those who climb) understand why. From an outside perspective, I am not gaining anything. There is no prize at the end. For 95% of the people who climb, it is not an occupation. There's no money or fame involved. Ah, but these are extrinsic. Climbing is largely an intrinsic sport, something foreign to our society. Yes, some people climb to be the best, or at least better than "him" or "her". But I think the large majority does it because it is fun. The feeling of using your body, working through problematic sequences, soaking in the sunshine, being encouraged by your peers, groaning together when you fall. When the competition is removed, intrinsic motivation remains. And I love it. Why? Because of the process. I may climb 5.9 or 5.14d, but the process is the same nonetheless. We are meant to enjoy the process of getting to the top.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Fall is here, or so it seems. Two days ago we had the air conditioning running for most of the day, but today Rebs had had a sweatshirt on for about half the day. Seasons in Korea are like that. And the funny thing to me is that the Koreans know exactly when it is. I remember having a conversation with our climbing gym owner a few years ago. We were making plans to go climbing a week or so later. He checked his calendar and then shook his head, saying, "No. Monsoon season." We asked him when it started and he told us in about a week. Sure enough, a week later it was pouring down buckets. Then we had about 2 weeks of normal conditions, though a bit humid. And then typhoon season came for 2 more weeks. Apparently the weather here is just as predictable as the driving-- meaning that initially it seems like total chaos. But after you've been driving in the country, you know exactly what's going to happen without the warning of a turn signal (an Asian sign of weakness).
Rebs is elated. She was just wishing Fall to be here, and now it is. We have the next month lined up with climbing, camping, seeing old friends who are leaving the country. It is definitely the time to be outside. I was reminded recently that we ought to seek peace and joy in our lives. This weather makes it easy to do just that.
It also happens to be apple and eggplant season right now. We eat our vegetables seasonally over here, picking them up cheap and fresh at the daily farmer's market in downtown Gyeongsan. You can get 3-5 eggplants for about $1, and i got about 15 apples for $3. It's great incentive for creativity and experimentation with new recipes. Rebs recently mastered her first attempt at baba ghanoush (aka eggplant hummus), while I currently have a crock pot of what will hopefully turn out to be some delicious apple butter. i make a point to save many of our glass bottles for this sort of occasion.
A big thing going on back home is that my brother-in-law, Cass Harris, is trying to record and produce his first album via Kickstarter. I love this guy a lot and think he is a very talented musician and has something special to share with the world. His songs are soulful, not your run-of-the-mill anything. I highly recommend going and checking out what he's doing.