On Motivation

One of the principles that unschoolers live by concerns motivation. It should be obvious to all that motivation borne inside of us (intrinsic), such as when we are pursuing an interest or passion, is superior to forms of motivation that had their origin in a threat (extrinsic). If this is not obvious to you, then consider the child, probably yourself at some point, who works twice as hard to get out of an unchosen obligation than would be required to fulfill the obligation. We’ve all either seen this or done this. I know I have, and I know that my children have, too. When I realize what is happening, I am compelled to reevaluate either what is being demanded of me or what I am demanding of others. I don’t care to use threats to motivate (nor tolerate them), because I believe that doing so is wrong, on many levels. Instead, I should help those I need to do something to find an intrinsic reason to do it. That’s called being a civilized adult, and today’s two cents.

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Skyler J. Collins (Editor)

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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on the Everything Voluntary podcast.

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