The reason why a person does something is often due to motivation, but there are two types. One is internal motivation, and it is often the drive that keeps people going whether or not a real-world reward is offered. If they want to solve a conundrum, they will do it because they are driven to find the answer for their own satisfaction. The other type of motivation comes from outside, and it can be likened to a parent giving a reward or withholding privileges for something that is less appealing to solve or complete. Using the second type of motivation has good and bad points, and it is those are what will be explored today.
Reward or Punishment
People are often willing to do things if they are facing consequences when they are not done, and there are two ways to go about getting them going. One could be a reward for a completed task, and it is often in the form of a bonus or raise over time. Even a promise of promotion can make a person do work. On the other hand, there is punishment. If a task is left uncompleted or done badly, there will be a negative consequence, and it can also motivate a person to get cracking.
External or Internal
It has long been touted that internal motivation is better than external, but that is often what keeps people going for the long term. Those who have their own reasons for accomplishing a goal that may take years to find their own reasons for doing it sustain them when the going gets difficult. While it might seem external motivations are useless, they are just as good when it comes to shorter-term goals. A person lagging on a long term project can find that a short term external motivator gets them past a rough patch.
For those who need to be externally motivated, it can be a good thing when it is not done on a regular basis. They can find that extra energy to complete a project or get started on it. If they are given these incentives on a regular basis, they tend to rely on externals to push to their goal instead of finding their own reasons. They can also find that any internal motivations they may have will tend to lose steam as they choose to rely on outside motivations, so they are only good if used judiciously to complete tasks.
External motivation can be a good way to get something done, and there is nothing wrong with accepting a bonus, raise or even a promotion for doing a necessary task. While it can help over the short term, there are times when long term goals will be better done with internal motivation, but it can be helpful to find immediate reasons for accomplishments. For those who are looking for personal satisfaction, external motivation will help sometimes if they do not rely solely on that to keep driving them forward.