I play ping pong every day for an hour with my friend Thane. I go to four conferences a year and read almost 300 books without any pictures.


Because I want to.

The only things that make us happy are the things we do because we find joy in doing them.

That’s why the chief question we are all asking in every circumstance is this: what’s in it for me?


I know. It sounds selfish. But the only real motivation in life is intrinsic, and the sooner we learn that “intrinsic” doesn’t mean “inherently sinful” the better. Consider the following intrinsic motivations:

1. Spiritually, we want a sense of closeness to God, of achievement, and of confidence that we are living the way God intended.

2. Personally, we want to laugh and have fun, contentment, to know we’ve got everything we need and to believe that what we do matters to God, to others, and to the world.

3. We want our families to be close, protected, and provided for.

4. We want to be sexually healthy, desirable, loved, and taken care of.

5. We want to have enough money that we no longer have to think about money all the time.

6. We want to find meaning and satisfaction in our work.

Intrinsic motivation refers to the desire to explore, learn, and achieve our potentials. It has little to do with selfishness—despite what our well-meaning Sunday School teachers once taught us—and much more to do with a healthy progression of personal development, spiritual discernment, and healthy living.

According to psychologist Kendra Cherry, the factors that increase intrinsic motivation are:

Challenge: People are more motivated when they pursue goals that have personal meaning, that relate to their self-esteem, when performance feedback is available, and when attaining the goal is possible but not certain.

Curiosity: Intrinsic motivation is increased when something in the physical environment grabs the individual’s attention (sensory curiosity) and when something about the activity stimulates the person to want to learn more (cognitive curiosity).

Control: People want control over themselves and their environments and want to determine what they pursue.

Cooperation and Competition: Intrinsic motivation can be increased in situations where people gain satisfaction from helping others and also in cases where they are able to compare their own performance favorably to that of others.

Recognition: People enjoy when their accomplishments are recognized by others, and this recognition can increase their intrinsic motivation.