Inspirational Quotations #564

True happiness must arise from well-regulated affections, and an affection includes a duty.
Mary Wollstonecraft

The influence of each human being on others in this life is a kind of immortality.
John Quincy Adams

Kind thoughts are rarer than either kind words or deeds. They imply a great deal of thinking about others. This in itself is rare. But they also imply a great deal of thinking about others without the thoughts being criticisms. This is rarer still.
Frederick William Faber

I wish I were either rich enough or poor enough to do a lot of things that are impossible in my present comfortable circumstances.
Don Herold

Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God.
Karl Barth

Every time you win, you’re reborn; when you lose, you die a little.
George E. Allen

The very essence of the creative is its novelty, and hence we have no standard by which to judge it.
Carl Rogers

Obscurity in writing is commonly a proof of darkness in the mind; the greatest learning is to be seen in the greatest plainness.
John Wilkins

A man only becomes wise when he begins to calculate the approximate depth of his ignorance.
Gian Carlo Menotti

If I had my hand full of truth, I would take good care how I opened it.
Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle

In the finest critics one hears the full cry of the human. They tell one why it matters to read.
Harold Bloom

There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.
Madeleine Albright

It must be hard to be a model, because you’d want to be like the photograph of you, and you can’t ever look that way.
Andy Warhol

Bill Gates and the Browser Wars: A Case Study in Determination and Competitive Ferocity

Competition Drives so much of our World Today

We live in a hypercompetitive age where winning is the outcome, often necessary for survival—in classrooms, sports, trade and commerce or at work. The archetypical successful person is determined, aggressive, and obsessed with winning at everything, sometimes at any cost. Of course, competition is healthy; but, winning may come at a hefty price—always striving to win or being overzealous can be both unnecessary and unproductive. Besides, collaborative or naturally uncompetitive individuals tend to find competitive people somewhat unpleasant.

History provides but a few vivid portraits of intense competition that compare to the mid-90s’ “browser wars,” a narrative characterized by the dogged determination and intense competitive spirit of some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs.

Bill Gates and Microsoft are legendary for using brute power: whenever a new competitor emerged, Microsoft would muster its financial resources and its smarts to storm into those markets with alternative products that would eventually dominate. Up until the dot-com bust, Microsoft not only out-competed Borland, Lotus Development, Corel, and other rivals that were previously in the lead, but also crushed upstarts such as Netscape.

“The Browser Wars”: Rise and Fall of Netscape

Bill Gates and the Browser Wars At the start of 1995, a new software called Netscape Navigator took the computing world by storm. Unlike primitive browsers, Netscape could display text and graphics on websites. Early web buffs eager to discover the marvel of the nascent internet were no longer restricted to downloading text alone. In addition, Netscape could render web pages on the fly while they were still being downloaded. Users did not need to stare at a blank screen until their dial-up connections loaded text and graphics.

Even more astounding was the fact that the upstart Netscape Communications, Netscape Navigator’s creator, had been co-founded by a 23-year-old programmer just a few months previously and seemed well-positioned to take advantage of the imminent consumer internet revolution. Netscape was on its way to an extraordinary 90% market share amongst internet browsers. What’s more: the company’s spectacular IPO was drawing near and was to start the dot-com boom.

Netscape’s meteoric rise could not escape the attention of the world’s dominant software company. Early in 1995, Microsoft was particularly occupied with finalizing Windows 95. Its launch, scheduled for August 1995, would prove to be the largest, most expensive consumer marketing endeavor in history. Moreover, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) had embarked on an intrusive investigation into claims of unfair business practices as alleged by Microsoft’s competitors.

While Netscape was capturing the Web browser market, Microsoft and Bill Gates had seemingly missed the paradigm shift created by the consumer internet. Financial and technology analysts wondered if Microsoft was destined to lose its supremacy over software. Microsoft could not wait on the sidelines and cede business opportunities in the upcoming consumer internet revolution.

Browser Wars: The Rise and Fall of Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer

Bill Gates and Microsoft Jumped on the “Internet Tidal Wave”

Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and the Microsoft team were not to be trifled with. Microsoft simply could not afford to be the underdog. Its strategy was transformed entirely when, on 26-May-1995, Bill Gates wrote the groundbreaking internal memo, “The Internet Tidal Wave.”

Bill Gates deployed an extraordinary amount of capital and talent to battle for control over consumer internet. Just after the August-1995-release of Windows 95, Microsoft released an inferior Internet Explorer 1.0. In 1996, Version 3.0, matched the features of Netscape Navigator. Finally, in 1997, after bundling Internet Explorer 4.0 into Windows 95, Microsoft started to take a significant market share from Netscape.

In 1998, the DOJ and twenty US states alleged that Microsoft had illegally thwarted competition by abusing its monopoly in personal computers to bundle its Internet Explorer and Windows operating system.

By 1999, Netscape was an inferior web browser and quickly lost its dominance. The software’s market share dropped from 90% in 1996 to a meager 4% by 2002.

In subsequent installments of the browser wars, Netscape Navigator’s open-source successor, Firefox, regained market share from Internet Explorer. More recently, Firefox and Internet Explorer have had to contend with Google’s Chrome, which has grown to be the dominant web browser.

Microsoft Set Out to Destroy Competitor after Competitor

Historically, Microsoft has never been a substantial innovator. Instead, the company’s most famous strategy was to be a “fast follower.” The variety of rivals’ projects made no difference—competitors could pioneer anything from graphical user interfaces (GUI,) pointing devices, spreadsheets, word processors, browsers or gaming consoles and Microsoft would catch up in due course.

Consequently, the most important Microsoft products started essentially as copies of existing products made by competitors or upstarts that Microsoft was able to purchase early. MS-DOS evolved from QDOS, which itself derived from CP/M. Microsoft Windows was inspired by Apple’s Macintosh, which, in turn, had been inspired by a prototype mouse-driven graphical user interface that Steve Jobs had seen at Xerox PARC. Microsoft Excel borrowed from VisiCalc and Lotus 1-2-3. In addition to riding the coattails of bona fide innovators, Microsoft excelled in smart integration—it combined nifty functions and features into a single product or into a suite of easy-to-use tools such as its Office productivity software.

Microsoft’s Once-Invincible Strategy of Being a “Fast Follower” Wasn’t Sustainable

Alas, in the last 15 years, Microsoft’s “fast follower” competitive strategy has proven unsustainable. As its dominance in the enterprise world grew, Microsoft’s impressive financial performance relied mostly on its “old faithful” franchises. In fiscal 2014, the Windows operating system, Office productivity suite, and servers/cloud businesses contributed 78% of Microsoft’s revenue and almost all of the gross profit.

Despite the competitive ferocity of Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and others at the company’s helm, Microsoft has been unable to return to its domineering ways in the internet’s recent mobile- and social-computing trends. In fact, Microsoft stumbled in category after category of consumer computing and technology, including search, social networking, phones, music players, and tablets. Google, Facebook, Apple—lead by entrepreneurs just as intensely competitive as Bill Gates—have soared ahead, altering the social-media-tech consumer experience.

Recommended Reading: If you like business history and entrepreneurial success stories, read ‘Forbes Greatest Business Stories of All Time’, Daniel Gross’s engaging profiles of twenty great American entrepreneurs: Revolutionary War financier Robert Morris, McDonald’s ‘founder’ Roy Kroc, Walt Disney, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, et al.

Inspirational Quotations #563

Dreams say what they mean, but they don’t say it in daytime language.
Gail Godwin

There is a point where you aren’t as much mom and daughter as you are adults and friends. It doesn’t happen for everyone–but it did for Mom and me.
Jamie Lee Curtis

Most ball games are lost, not won.
Casey Stengel

Patience is also a form of action.
Auguste Rodin

The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.
Martin Heidegger

Little deeds of kindness,|little words of love,|make our earth an Eden,|like the heaven above.
Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney

I have condemned Khomeini’s fatwa to kill Salman Rushdie as a breach of international relations and as an assault on Islam as we know it in the era of apostasy. I believe that the wrong done by Khomeini towards Islam and the Muslims is no less than that done by the author himself. As regards freedom of expression, I have said that it must be considered sacred and that thought can only be corrected by counter-thought. During the debate, I supported the boycott of the book as a means of maintaining social peace, granted that such a decision would not be used as a pretext to constrain thought.
Naguib Mahfouz

The real price of everything is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.
Adam Smith

Love is an ocean of emotions entirely surrounded by expenses.
Thomas Dewar, 1st Baron Dewar

Love all. Serve all. Help ever. Hurt never.
Sathya Sai Baba

The true and solid peace of nations consists not in equality of arms, but in mutual trust alone.
Pope John XXIII

Dueling Maxims, Adages, and Proverbs

Dueling Maxims, Adages, and Proverbs

Different Proverbs & Different Situations

The 17th-century Anglo-Welsh writer James Howell once said, “Proverbs may not improperly be called the philosophy of the common people.”

Maxims and proverbs condense humankind’s wisdom through the ages. Applied appropriately, proverbs are persuasive devices to convince others—through wit, humor, zing, irony, or bitterness—of implied wisdom and collective experience.

Proverbs tend to sound convincing—that is, at least until a contradictory proverb is evoked. According to American poet and essayist William Mathews, “All maxims have their antagonist maxims; proverbs should be sold in pairs, a single one being a half truth.” This discrepancy even appears in the Hebrew Bible (The Old Testament), as Proverbs 26:4 counsels, “do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.” In the very next verse, Proverbs 26:5 urges, “answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.”

One of the pleasures of working with maxims, proverbs, and quotations is contemplating confirmations, counterparts, contradictions, and inconsistencies. In other words, it’s fascinating and helpful to examine how words might apply differently in various situations.

When used without qualification, proverbs sometimes cancel one-another out. The following compendium illustrates this phenomenon.

Contradicting Common Proverbs

“All that glitters is not gold.”But, “Clothes make the man.”

“Clothes make the man.”But, “Never judge a book by its cover.”

“Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.”But sometimes, “Leave well enough alone.”

“Wise men think alike.”But, “Fools seldom differ.”

“Haste makes waste.”But sometimes, “Strike while the iron is hot.”

“One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”But sometimes, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

“Misery loves company.”But, “The more the merrier.”

“The more the merrier.”But sometimes, “Two’s company; three’s a crowd.”

“What will be, will be.”But, “Life is what you make it.”

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”But, “Every little bit helps.”

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”But, “The devil is in the details.”

“A penny saved is a penny earned.”But, “Penny wise, pound foolish.”

“Repentance comes too late.”But, “Never too late to mend.”

“All for one and one for all.”But sometimes, “Every man for himself.”

“Blood is thicker than water.”But, “Many kinfolk, few friends.”

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”But, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.”

“The pen is mightier than the sword.”But, “Actions speak louder than words.”

“Ask no questions and hear no lies.”But, “Better to ask the way than to go astray.”

“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”But sometimes, “If you lie down with dogs, you’ll wake up with fleas.”

“Better be alone than in bad company.”But, “There’s safety in numbers.”

“Tomorrow is another day.”But, “Another day might be too late.”

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”But, “Don’t beat a dead horse.”

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”But, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

“A silent man is a wise one.”But, “A man without words is a man without thoughts.”

“There is nothing new under the sun.”But, “There is nothing permanent except change.”

“The bigger the better.”But sometimes, “Good things come in small packages.”

“Look before you leap.”But, “He who hesitates is lost.”

“Don’t talk to strangers.”But, “Familiarity breeds contempt.”

“Variety is the spice of life.”But sometimes, “Don’t change horses in midstream.”

“All good things come to those who wait.”But sometimes, “Time and tide wait for no man.”

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”But, “Time and tide wait for no man.”

“A miss is as good as a mile.”But sometimes, “Half a loaf is better than none.”

“Don’t speak too soon.”But sometimes, “Speak now or forever hold your peace.”

“Money can’t buy you love.”But, “Romance without finance can be a nuisance.”

“Never do evil, that good may come of it.”But, “The end justifies the means.”

“If you want something done right, do it yourself.”But sometimes, “Two heads are better than one.”

“There’s no fool like an old fool.”But, “An old fox is not easily snared.”

“Divide and rule.”But, “United we stand, divided we fall.”

“It’s never too late.”But, “The early bird catches the worm.”

“The early bird catches the worm.”But, “Good things come to those who wait.”

“To thine own self be true.”But, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

“With age comes wisdom.”But, “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings come all wise sayings.”

“Actions speak louder than words.”But, “It’s the thought that counts.”

“It’s the thought that counts.”But, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

“Curiosity killed the cat.”But, “Ask and you shall receive.”

“Birds of a feather flock together.”But, “Opposites attract.”

“Ask and you shall receive.”But, “Ask no questions and hear no lies.”

“Faith will move mountains.”But, “Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom.”

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”But, “You’re never too old to learn.”

“Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.”But, “Let sleeping dogs lie.”

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”But, “Take no for an answer.”

“Knowledge is power.”But, “Ignorance is bliss.”

“It never rains, then it pours.”But sometimes, “Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.”

“Better safe than sorry.”But, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

“Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”But, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

“Silence is golden.”But sometimes, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”But, “Idle hands do the devil’s work.”

“Practice makes perfect.”But, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

“If one door shuts, another opens.”But, “Opportunity never knocks twice on the same door.”

“Don’t preach to the choir.”But, “Don’t cast pearls before swine.”

“Many hands make light work.”But, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”

“Too many cooks spoil the broth.”But, “Two heads are better than one.”

“Don’t cross the bridge until you reach it.”But, “Forewarned is forearmed.”

“One size fits all.”But sometimes, “Different strokes for different folks.”

“The best things in life are free.”But, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

“A good beginning makes a good ending.”But, “It’s not over till it’s over.”

“Hold fast to the words of your ancestors.”But, “Wise men make proverbs; fools repeat them.”

Books I Read in 2014

Other than a number of Rick Steves’ books for my summer-long travels in Europe, here are a few books that I read in 2014 and recommend.

Even though I read few works of fiction, I read a number of Agatha Christie’s “Poirot” books, including the enthralling “Death on the Nile”. Christie describes her characters brilliantly with superb detail.

Books on Business, Operations, & Finance

Books on Skills for Success

Four Timeless Books I Re-Read Every Year

'Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits' by Philip A. Fisher (ISBN 0471445509) Benjamin Graham’s “Security Analysis”, Benjamin Graham’s “The Intelligent Investor”, and Phil Fisher’s “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits” discuss two complementary schools of investment analysis. Graham’s quantitative approach to value investing comprises of buying stocks below what they are worth and then selling them once they are fully priced. In contrast, Fisher’s qualitative approach to growth investing considers the intangibles (products and services, management, competition, growth prospects, etc.) and paying a premium for growth. Graham’s and Fisher’s viewpoints are a significant part of Warren Buffett’s approach to investments. He’s described himself as “85% Graham, 15% Fisher” (I think Buffett is more “15% Graham, 85% Fisher.”)

Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is the granddaddy of all self-help books that spawned the self-improvement industry. I discovered that the 2011 update, “How to Win Friends and Influence People Digital Age”, refers to my blog article on the art of remembering names.

Inspirational Quotations #562

As long as one keeps searching, the answers come.
Joan Baez

Power intoxicates men. When a man is intoxicated by alcohol, he can recover, but when intoxicated by power, he seldom recovers.
James F. Byrnes

I suppose I have a really loose interpretation of “work,” because I think that just being alive is so much work at something you don’t always want to do. The machinery is always going. Even when you sleep.
Andy Warhol

Our mistakes from the past are just that: mistakes. And they were necessary to make in order to become the wiser person we became.
Bill Maher

If you take risks, you may fail. But if you don’t take risks, you will surely fail. The greatest risk of all is to do nothing.
Roberto Goizueta

Sow an act…reap a habit; Sow a habit…reap a character; Sow a character…reap a destiny.
George Boardman

Do what you fear most and you control fear.
Tom Hopkins

There are more ideas on earth than intellectuals imagine. And these ideas are more active, stronger, more resistant, more passionate than “politicians” think. We have to be there at the birth of ideas, the bursting outward of their force: not in books expressing them, but in events manifesting this force, in struggles carried on around ideas, for or against them. Ideas do not rule the world. But it is because the world has ideas… that it is not passively ruled by those who are its leaders or those who would like to teach it, once and for all, what it must think.
Michel Foucault

Lord Chesterfield on Multitasking: Singular Focus on a Task is not only Practical but also a Mark of Intelligence

Our modern technological environment is largely to blame for our scattered attention. This age is saturated with information overload and electronic gadgets, accompanied by a societal expectation that people will respond immediately. As a result, the phenomenon of multitasking has grown dominant.

Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield The meaning of multitasking has evolved over time. Three centuries ago, perhaps it meant dividing one’s immediate attention between various intellectual pursuits or recreational activities, such as socializing and dancing or eating and drinking. At that time, a father who cared deeply about his son’s education wrote to the boy persuading him to maintain singular focus on any task.

The British statesman Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694–1773,) was a renowned man of letters. From 1737 until his son’s death in 1768, the Earl of Chesterfield wrote instructive letters to his son on a wide range of subjects, including history, geography, literature, society, politics, and even conduct. Over 300 of Lord Chesterfield’s letters to his son, full of timeless wit and wisdom, were later published by the son’s widow as “Lord Chesterfield’s Letters” (free ebook at Project Gutenberg.)

Letters to His Son, by Philip Dormer Stanhope (4th Earl of Chesterfield)

On 25-Apr-1747 (the New Style date corresponding to the Old Style 14-Apr-1747,) the 4th Earl of Chesterfield delivered advice that remains especially applicable today: he encourages focus, engagement, being present, and staying in the moment.

I have always earnestly recommended to you, to do what you are about, be that what it will; and to do nothing else at the same time. Do not imagine that I mean by this, that you should attend to and plod at your book all day long; far from it; I mean that you should have your pleasures too; and that you should attend to them for the time; as much as to your studies; and, if you do not attend equally to both, you will neither have improvement nor satisfaction from either. A man is fit for neither business nor pleasure, who either cannot, or does not, command and direct his attention to the present object, and, in some degree, banish for that time all other objects from his thoughts. If at a ball, a supper, or a party of pleasure, a man were to be solving, in his own mind, a problem in Euclid, he would be a very bad companion, and make a very poor figure in that company; or if, in studying a problem in his closet, he were to think of a minuet, I am apt to believe that he would make a very poor mathematician. There is time enough for everything, in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once; but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time. The Pensionary de Witt, who was torn to pieces in the year 1672, did the whole business of the Republic, and yet had time left to go to assemblies in the evening, and sup in company. Being asked how he could possibly find time to go through so much business, and yet amuse himself in the evenings as he did, he answered, there was nothing so easy; for that it was only doing one thing at a time, and never putting off anything till to-morrow that could be done to-day. This steady and undissipated attention to one object is a sure mark of a superior genius; as hurry, bustle, and agitation are the never-failing symptoms of a weak and frivolous mind. When you read Horace, attend to the justness of his thoughts, the happiness of his diction, and the beauty of his poetry; and do not think of Puffendorf de Homine el Cive; and, when you are reading Puffendorf, do not think of Madame de St. Germain; nor of Puffendorf, when you are talking to Madame de St. Germain.

Inspirational Quotations #561

Reality is whatever refuses to go away when I stop believing in it.
Philip K. Dick

All humans are frightened of their own solitude. But only in solitude can we learn to know ourselves, learn to handle our own eternal aloneness.
Han Suyin

You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.
Babe Ruth

I’ve never run into a guy who could win at the top level in anything today and didn’t have the right attitude, didn’t give it everything he had, at least while he was doing it; wasn’t prepared and didn’t have the whole program worked out.
Ted Turner

I believe that dreams transport us through the underside of our days, and that if we wish to become acquainted with the dark side of what we are, the signposts are there, waiting for us to translate them
Gail Godwin

Healthy personalities accept themselves not in any self-idolizing way, but in the sense that they see themselves as persons who are worth giving to another and worthy to receive from another.
William Glasser

The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.
Alberto Giacometti

Ambition, old as mankind, the immemorial weakness of the strong.
Vita Sackville-West

I couldn’t wait for success… so I went ahead without it.
Jonathan Winters

Seven days without laughter makes one weak.
Mort Walker

How majestic is naturalness. I have never met a man whom I really considered a great man who was not always natural and simple. Affectation is inevitably the mark of one not sure of himself.
Charles G. Dawes

Inspirational Quotations #560

No one knows what they’ll do in a moment of crisis and hypothetical questions get hypothetical answers.
Joan Baez

We may not know how to forgive, and we may not want to forgive; but the very fact we say we are willing to forgive begins the healing practice.
Louise Hay

Power? It’s like a Dead Sea fruit. When you achieve it, there is nothing there.
Harold Macmillan

There are five tests of the evidence of education — correctness and precision in the use of the mother tongue; refined and gentle manners, the result of fixed habits of thought and action; sound standards of appreciation of beauty and of worth, and a character based on those standards; power and habit of reflection; efficiency or the power to do.
Nicholas Murray Butler

Man’s inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively.
Carl Rogers

I know the compassion of others is a relief at first. I don’t despise it. But it can’t quench pain, it slips through your soul as through a sieve. And when our suffering has been dragged from one pity to another, as from one mouth to another, we can no longer respect or love it.
Georges Bernanos

People go through four stages before any revolutionary development:|1. It’s nonsense, don’t waste my time.|2. It’s interesting, but not important.|3. I always said it was a good idea.|4. I thought of it first.
Arthur C. Clarke

In long experience I find that a man who trusts nobody is apt to be the kind of man nobody trusts.
Harold Macmillan

People Have Both Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivations for Doing What They Do

People have Both Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivations for Doing What They Do

Motivation is derived from incentives or disincentives that encourage a person to engage in an activity or behave a specific way. These actions are governed by two types of motivation, which is founded either externally or internally, through extrinsic or intrinsic motivation.

A healthy blend of both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation is conducive to success.

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation is the desire to perform a behavior in an effort to receive external rewards or avoid any threatened punishment.

In extrinsic motivation, a person’s primary driving force stems from rewards—a salary raise, bonuses, fame, and recognition—or from constraints, such as punishment or job loss. Thus, averting penalty or retribution, as well as earning such external rewards as recognition, money, or praise contribute to extrinsic motivation.

Examples of Extrinsic Motivation

  • A child tidies up her room to avoid being chastised by her parents.
  • After arriving late to work, a bank employee is told he must exercise punctuality and be prepared to serve customers at the proper time or risk losing his job.
  • A benefactor donates a sum of money large enough for his alma mater to rename its business school in his honor, for which he receives greater recognition and fame.

Intrinsic Motivation

In sharp contrast to extrinsic motivation, its intrinsic complement involves the desire to perform a task for its own sake.

In intrinsic motivation, the foremost reasoning behind a person’s actions includes his or her involvement in or commitment to work, or even the expected satisfaction with the work’s results. Intrinsic motivation reflects the desire to do something because it is pleasant or fulfilling, regardless of any additional benefits.

More specifically, behavior that is intrinsically motivated comes from within an individual. (Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” is an intuitive and potentially convenient theory of human motivation.) That is, the person possesses determination or is naturally interested in a particular activity. An intrinsically motivated person does not require any external rewards or punishments in order to act. Often, the behavior or effort is a reward in itself.

Examples of Intrinsic Motivation

  • A career counselor refuses to help a well-heeled client embellish her resume and practice interview answers that exaggerate her previous accomplishments because the career counselor feels that deceiving his client’s potential employer is ethically wrong.
  • A teenager continues training himself to run long distance so he can compete “against himself” in marathons. He aims to improve his time, not win awards or become a professional athlete.
  • A volunteer offers her services just because “virtue is its own reward,” with no hope of recognition nor desire to avoid punishment.
  • An anonymous donor bestows a large sum of money to a charity because he believes in its cause.
  • A housewife starts a neighborhood bakery because she loves baking and cooking. Though she intends to build a profitable business, she seeks just enough money to compensate for her time and basic costs. Her main motivation lies in a passion for baking, in creating a business she can be proud of, and in serving her community.
  • A lawyer, coming from a low-income family herself, works pro bono to help the less fortunate since she understands their struggles.
  • Though it may prove inapplicable to his own industry, a software engineer learns a new programming language because of the fulfillment he gets from working with numbers and applying logic.