Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation

When we think about our motivation and what goes wrong, we learn that the nature of our motivation is extremely important in whether we will be able to sustain a new habit long term. Most of us have been brought up to have a reward mentality. This mentality encourages us to receive extrinsic rewards for a job well done. This is partly because of the way that school and work are organized. We receive rewards and credit for what we do on the outside. Because of this many of us have lost track of what our intrinsic motivations are.

Most of us have been brought up to have a reward mentality. This mentality encourages us to receive extrinsic rewards for a job well done.

Each different Dosha has a unique way in which they can get motivated intrinsically. This explains why an individual with a higher proportion of one of the Dosha may be more motivated then another.


As Vata types tend to be the most in their heads, they are motivated by curiosity. The knowledge that they gain and the wisdom that they acquire is the reward in and of itself. They are the types that do not need a certificate of completion when they do something because they feel rewarded just by having more information. They get pleasure out of learning more and are usually engaged in learning many different things at once.

Another strategy that Vata can use to motivate themselves is to turn their life into a game or to imagine fantasy scenarios that help them to stay motivated. As Vata types do not fit well into boxes and find the metaphysical more inspiring than the physical, this type of motivation can help them to accomplish tasks that may otherwise be difficult.


If you know anything about Pitta then you will know that they thrive on challenges. They find personal meaning in striving towards difficult goals. This is the most common way that we perceive motivation and that is why Pitta types are usually considered to be the most motivated of all the types.

Pittas also like to feel a sense of control and a sense of mastery. They thrive on being the smartest person in the room. They find personal meaning in feeling like they know what is going on and strategize in ways that help them to improve their position. They find the mere act of gaining more control motivating.
Lastly Pitta types are motivated by competition. It is through competing with others that they get a sense of accomplishment. Especially when they are successful. This strategy is especially helpful to help them stay on top of their exercise routine and to build that into a daily habit.


Kapha types are very dedicated to their primary relationships. This allows them to work well with others and they get a sense of accomplishment and feel a sense of belonging when they are able to cooperate effectively with those around them. Kapha types work best in teams and are motivated by their obligation to others. That is why Kapha types do best when that are part of a group of like-minded individuals working towards a common goal.

Kapha’s also thrive on recognition. It is through recognition that they are able to sustain their motivation. Recognition is interesting because it can also be a form of extrinsic motivation. Yet Kapha’s can motivate themselves by recognizing their own accomplishments and contributions and feel the power that they get from being successful and accountable to their own standards.

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