There are three things that can make work seem more like play.
There are basically only two drivers for doing anything:
1. Wanting to – internally motivated
2. Someone else wants you to – externally motivated
The Internally motivated category can consist of activities like hobbies, eating, going on holiday or socialising. The externally motivated category can consist of activities like doing the dishes, studying or going to work. The reason for the slightly ambitious language like “basically only two” or “can consist of” is that internal and internal motivators can overlap.
You might enjoy what you do for a living but you probably wouldn’t do it for free. My partner wants me to do the washing up, but would I have done it anyway?
When work becomes play
Also, what used to motivate us internally can turn into only being an externally motivated task. One example of this is where your passion becomes your career and over time becomes a chore (it’s rare, but it happens). The opposite can apply here also where something we were paid to do becomes something we love doing.
The latter of the two is very interesting and most likely occurs because the activity being performed is satisfying one or more of the human needs.
Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan are both eminent motivation scientists who claim that there are only three factors at the base of intrinsic motivation:
Being competent. To be good enough at something that is just difficult enough to give a sense of achievement. Being autonomous. Having the freedom to thrive. We don’t like to be controlled. Relatedness. People are social and need to be able to connect to one another.
You will be able to become internally motivated if you address these three needs in any task that you set out to achieve.
I hope you found this post useful and I’ll see in the next one!
P.S If you are interested in learning more about psychology, you should check out our list of online psychology courses we are offering at the moment.
They’re all really flexible and some can even be studied from as little as $25 per week! Click the orange button below to learn more.
Have a good day!