Doing what you like doing. Being good at it. And finally doing this with people that think the same way. Those are the three elements that together shape happiness in what you do. Or at least, that’s what the SDT theory would argue. The go-to theory on motivation that has guided me for quite some time now.

How are you motivated? Is it self-development that drives you? The people you work with? Or are you just that enthusiastic guy that picks up anything he gets handed to him? The SDT theory would argue for a healthy balance between these things actually. We’re all concerned with motivation. Whether it’s your motivation to be at the office 15 minutes early, or to stay committed to that gym membership you signed up for with a friend. The trick of applying the SDT theory is finding the ties between your environment and your intrinsic motives and needs as a person to be motivated.

Many of us do things from extrinsic motivation. Maybe because your co-workers will think badly of you if you’re late. Maybe you’re afraid of what your friend will think of you, when you once again pick your Netflix membership over the gym. However, it is also caused by intrinsic motivation. Maybe you come to work 15 minutes early because you care about your colleagues or because you just really like your job. Maybe you go to the gym simply because you have a passion for it. That’s what they would call intrinsic motivation. The internal drive to do things without external influences. Based on the following:

Autonomy
Doing what you like doing. Sounds obvious? Maybe, but it’s also something we often mistakenly assume when we have just been doing something for a long time. No, really taking what you like doing and working that into a work field. It’s why we decided to arrange recruitment so that people are asked beforehand what impact they want to have. If ambition and passion exist for a certain job, autonomy will ensure you will gladly come to work early to rock another day. Instead of shoving someone into a cubicle with a specific task, you leave it up to him to become useful in the way that makes him happiest. This yields much more efficiency in the end.

Competence
Being good at what you do. Because someone selected something they have autonomy for, they develop a will to become better at what they do. To fulfill their need of self-development. This self-development causes an ever improving competence because you have ambition to become better at what you like doing.

Kinship
Working with people that think the same way. After you work in your ideal position, being surrounded with people that acknowledge and appreciate your competence is the final element to boost your intrinsic drive. You could compare this component to the likability element in the theory of Cialdini in certain ways. You will automatically like people better when they are similar to you. Not in every way of course, but with shared values and goals, good cooperation will be easier to achieve.

Combined
When all three intrinsic tendencies are fulfilled, intrinsic motivation becomes possible. Voila! Well, Of course, that is not all the theory that comes with SDT. In the full extensive theory, many external elements are explored that have different effects on the three internal tendencies. But these basics are something to think about for everyone.

Can you relate to this way of working? Do you feel like you could use someone that will team up with you to attack your issues?  Reach out to me and let’s see if we can establish your next copy project together.