Kick Your Ass Idea #146 – R U an X or an I?

Wanna make sure your ass gets into gear, and STAYS that way? One thing that will help in a big hurry is figuring out whether U R an X or an I.

Here’s the deal: some people are extrinsically motivated [“X”], and some people are intrinsically motivated [“I”]. Actually, most of us are generally one way or the other, with exceptions for certain activities. If you’d like to learn a whole lot more about these ideas, pick up Daniel H. Pink’s fabulous book DRIVE. In the meantime, check out this short explanation.

Extrinsically motivated means you respond well to external goals and rewards, like targets for reaching sales goals, a new belt in martial arts, or a personal prize like a new purse or a trip to the Bahamas. Intrinsically motivated means you respond well to progress you make in the activity itself, like getting a better understanding of sales process, deepening your ability in martial arts itself, or getting better at personal relationships.

I was surprised to realize recently that the fact that I M an I explains a lot about why I don’t always respond well to suggestions made by my business mentors. Nearly always, the people who advise me help me develop external goals and systems for reaching them. That’s helpful in the moment, but I’m hard-wired to respond to intrinsic rewards over the long term, and I quickly lose interest in sales targets and numbers-based systems of reward.

Because I’m an advocate of the process of mastery, I often suggest to my students and clients that they should have a personal “mission.” This is a concept that comes completely from the “I” side of things. I believe we lead our best lives when we are involved in at least one activity that requires us to get more and more skilled over time, allows us to escape from a focus on acquiring things, and eventually allows us to make the world at least a little bit better. I’ve been discussing this notion of “mission” with the incredible Deb Pearson for some time now [Deb’s a successful businesswoman and a highly skilled martial artist], and I think we’ll have a lot more to offer about in the coming months.

In the meantime, it could be very helpful for you to ask yourself, am I an X or an I?

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