I welcome Stefan Falk to Passion Struck, who is a senior executive and performance coach working with elite athletes, top executives, special operators in the armed forces, and leaders from all walks of life. We explore his new book Intrinsic Motivation: Learn to Love Your Work and Succeed as Never Before.
What is Intrinsic Motivation?
Intrinsic motivation refers to the drive to engage in an activity for its own sake rather than for external rewards or pressure. It is the feeling of being motivated from within, based on a personal interest or enjoyment in the task itself. Intrinsic motivation is driven by a sense of challenge or fulfillment rather than by external factors such as money, grades, or recognition. When people are intrinsically motivated, they tend to put in more effort, be more creative, and experience greater satisfaction with the outcome of their efforts. This type of motivation is considered to be more sustainable and fulfilling than extrinsic motivation, which is driven by external factors.
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In This Episode, Stefan Falk And I Discuss His Debut Book, Intrinsic Motivation.
My guest today, Stefan Falk, discusses how to comprehend the concept of intrinsic motivation, which arises when one feels challenged in a positive manner by a task or situation, and realizes that they have the ability to set the challenge for themselves if they put their minds to it. When this happens, he explains why they will perform at their optimal level and enhance their skills, which will be rewarded by the brain with a fulfilling experience. Self-improvement has always been a crucial aspect of human survival, which is why our brain is designed to reward us when we engage in such activities.
Additionally, he helps the listeners appreciate the significance of activating intrinsic motivation when needed, as it is essential for achieving goals and fully enjoying any activities. Intrinsic motivation should be switched on in various circumstances, whether it’s for performing better, solving a difficult problem, improving work relationships, or facing boring, scary, uncomfortable, or seemingly impossible situations.
It is also crucial for listeners to understand that the brain gets better at what it is repeatedly pushed to do. Thus, we must be mindful of what we train our brains to excel in. If we constantly avoid things or people we dislike, our brain will get better at avoiding them, but it will also become more adept at identifying more and more things and people as unworthy of our time and effort. On the other hand, if we repeatedly push our brain to identify interesting and challenging aspects of the things and people around us, it will get better at recognizing those aspects in more instances, making it easier to unlock intrinsic motivation.
Lastly, Stefan hopes his book will be a practical and enjoyable guide filled with tested methods for making any activity more thrilling and fulfilling. It should be a helpful companion for achieving their goals and fulfilling their dreams.
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More From My Interview With Stefan Falk
During our interview, I asked Stefan about the common habits and attitudes he found in professionals who love what they do.
Stefan Falk explains, “It’s important to understand that this satisfaction for work and this engagement actually comes from what is the root cause behind that. And in my experience for the past 25 to 30 years, I would say that, obviously, the work environment is important, but what is even more important is the internal environment, which is basically how you think about yourself and your work.
And what I find to be the main reason people are dissatisfied or become dissatisfied with the work is as soon as you come into a job and learn how to perform a task. It’s almost like you log out because you know how to do it. And then, you start to perform your tasks on habit. That’s what I call the activity-based behavior that is so common among professionals.
And we have this, like performing on habit, because we are fundamentally lazy. We are energy-conserving creatures, and that’s a fact. So it’s not a personal thing that I am lazy, and you are not. We are all lazy. I’m as lazy as anyone else. Okay, that’s it. But when we operate on habits, we don’t think very much when we do things.
And what happens over time is that we actually become less insightful in how we perform things. And so whenever we ask to work faster, work better, and produce more, it creates a lot of stress for us because we actually don’t know where to start. It’s almost like being thrown into a tennis match, and you don’t know how to play tennis.
And also, when you perform on habit, what happens is that your level of effort goes down over time, okay, because we save even more energy, which means that you actually worsen your performance. And then you start to create a lot of mistakes, and mistakes mean sort of rework. You also get bored, which means you want to start procrastinating, leading to to-do lists, missed deadlines, and so forth.
So there, I would say that people’s desire for satisfaction and disengagement is very often self-inflicted. And I know that this might sound a little bit politically incorrect because we focus on improving the environment, employee experience, and all these things. But I come at it from much more of a much more scientific biological standpoint. And this is basically what I’ve seen for the past 25-30 years.
So I think that the key challenge that anyone that really wants to thrive and be successful and healthy at work is to develop some red alerts, basically saying that, okay, now, I have a tendency to be lazy when I shouldn’t, I should actually spend energy here to challenge myself because it’s the experience of being challenged, that actually enables intrinsic motivation. That is to love the experience of doing.”
Thanks, Stefan Falk
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Resources From The Show With Stefan Falk
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Passion Struck podcast receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you so much for being so supportive!
- Website: https://learntoloveyourwork.com/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stefan-falk-22461919/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/IntrinsicMoti
My solo episode on why you need to stop chasing perfection: https://passionstruck.com/stop-chasing-perfection/
Want to hear my best interviews from 2022? Check out episode 233 on intentional greatness and episode 234 on intentional behavior change.
My interview with Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman and Dr. Jordan Feingold on Choosing Growth and transcending self-doubt, fear, and anxiety: https://passionstruck.com/jordyn-feingold-scott-barry-kaufman-chose-growth/
My interview with NYU Stern School of Business Professor Scott Galloway on Why America is Adrift: https://passionstruck.com/scott-galloway-america-is-adrift/
My solo episode on why micro choices matter: https://passionstruck.com/why-your-micro-choices-determine-your-life/
About Today’s Guest, Stefan Falk
Stefan Falk is an internationally-recognized executive coach and human performance expert. A McKinsey & Company alumnus specializing in leadership and corporate transformation, he has trained over 4,000 leaders across more than 60 different client organizations in North America and Europe. He has held C-suite roles at several global companies and has been responsible for driving corporate transformations valued in excess of two billion dollars.
His leadership and human performance techniques have been developed in continuous cooperation with leading scientists in fields including neuroscience, behavioral science, and psychology. His mentor for many years was the late professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the leading expert on optimal human functioning and author of many books, including “Finding Flow” and “Creativity: The flow of discovery and innovation.”
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John R. Miles is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Passion Struck. This full-service media company helps people live intentionally by creating best-in-class educational and entertainment content. John is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, and author named to the ComputerWorld Top 100 IT Leaders.
John is the host of the PassionStruckPodcast. The show focused on exploring the mindset and philosophy of the world’s most inspiring people to learn their lessons to living intentionally. Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to live better, be better and impact.