Mind Hack

What Is Self Determination Theory? – Source Of Motivation

Self Determination Theory

Self-determination theory (SDT) provides a framework for developing motivation. It is primarily concerned with understanding what motivates people to act in positive ways. It also focuses on identifying and measuring how social and cultural factors play beneficial roles as motivational setbacks. There’s a couple of things here. SDT is a theory concerned with how people are motivated, like what gets people going.

Human beings are in direct contact with conflicting or opposing forces resulting in very behavioral outcomes. People have an innate desire to grow. They have a desire to flourish to overcome challenging circumstances and to let their experiences. These desires are not achieved automatically. People have to work hard to achieve these.

What is self determination theory?

Self-determination theory is a psychological and highly modern theory about motivation. Richard Ryan and Edward Deci develop it. They focus on two things. Firstly on the dominant role of intrinsic motivation. And secondly on the conditions under which extrinsic motivation. Self-determination theory begins by making an important distinction.

Most people who think about psychology think about it as a unitary concept. Motivation is more than just biological inheritance. In real-world motivation concerning all aspects of activation, people can be more motivated to perform with a value activity or external pressures.

There are 2 types of motivation:

  • Autonomous motivation.
  • Controlled motivation.

1. Autonomous motivation

It describes what you’re doing when you’re feeling. If you’re doing it with a real sense of interest, enjoyment, and value, then it’s autonomous motivation. Performance, wellness, and engagement are greater when people are more autonomously motivated than when controlled in motivation. Autonomous motivation is two types.

  • Extrinsic motivation.
  • Intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic motivation – Richard Ryan developed the other type of autonomous motivation. He got interested in the idea of extrinsic motivation and whether extrinsic motivation could be autonomous or not. Extrinsic motivation refers to being motivated by external. It means whether it be for a reward such as money or a trophy or to stay out of trouble with authority such as police, teachers, and parents. When people do work by understanding the value of the activity that may be rewarded or requested, they will be autonomously motivated. The outcomes will be very positive.

One example could be a trial that works hard at school not to learn but to get a grade or receive a sticker. In a football context, a player is motivated by the status of a specific team.

Intrinsic motivation – Someone does something because of exciting and enjoyable. Intrinsic motivation is the voluntary engagement and activities for inherent enjoyment. Further, the intrinsically motivated individual is internal in their quest. It becomes a personal quest to bettering themselves at a given activity.

2. Controlled motivation

It refers to doing something to get some reward or avoid some punishment. It means doing something because you’re feeling pressured demanded obliged to be doing it. When most people think about motivation, they’re more often thinking about controlled motivation than autonomous motivation.

Human beings have a set of basic psychological needs. The concept of psychological needs being universal is an important one. In 2000, Dessie analyzed shed self-determination theory with the world. It attempts to develop the intrinsically motivated individual by meeting three basic psychological needs. The theory states that there are three innate psychological needs that everybody shares. Everyone wants to feel like they’re mastering something.

  • Autonomy.
  • Competence.
  • Relatedness.

Autonomy: Autonomy is the ability to make own choices. It’s not as strong as independence because as an autonomous individual from other people. It is a human need that people must get satisfied for optimal wellness and optimal performance. If they don’t get the need satisfied, then there will be negative psychological consequences that follow.

Autonomy refers to the choice of control and freedom over behavior. For example, no football session, you might be running a 1v1 activity. So a simple way to allow autonomy is getting players to choose their opponents. A more complex example of autonomy may be setting up a system. It allows players to select the position they play.

Competence: The second need is competence. This is a feeling of success or at least the feeling that there is a possibility for success. People create different challenges for different individuals within the same context. For example, you could be working on the first touch, but the way an individual succeeds is different. One may get the point to scanning, while others may earn points for taking their touch the opposite way to the defender.

Relatedness: Finally, the third lead is relatedness. Relationships are a powerful tool in motivating others. And they shouldn’t be underestimated. Relatedness is a sense of belonging or connection with the team and coaches. An example of creating relatedness is as simple as shaking hands with each other at the end of a training session.

To produce a positive motivation in people, we need to undergirding all these three principles. Studies may have shown that intrinsic factors seem to motivate better.

More Articles:


Ryan, R. M.; Deci. “Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being.” American Psychologist.
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M., Motivation, personality, and development within embedded social contexts: An overview of self-determination theory. In R. M. Ryan (Ed.), Oxford handbook of human motivation. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Ryan, R. M. & Deci. Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. New York: Guilford Publishing.

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