Finding your intrinsic motivation is one of the fundamental quests in life — one you may grapple with almost every day. Many think that finding it is the key to finding happiness.

Intrinsic motivation is the fundamental basis for your feelings of contentment and aptitude as well as your feelings of joy and rapture.

Intrinsic motivation is a drive that originates from within you. This contrasts with extrinsic motivation that is driven by an external source.

An intrinsic reward is an internal payoff, such as the feeling of accomplishment from a job well done. Extrinsic rewards include money or promotions that come from other people’s acknowledgement of your talents.

Intrinsic motivation sustains an activity for its own sake. You engage in a task because you enjoy it, you are interested in it, and it arouses your curiosity. In contrast, extrinsic motivation is sustained by an outside force and expectation of some reward or recognition.

Here are several techniques that you can use to get yourself moving in the right direction:

Find mentors

Look around and seek out your role models — people who are working to make things happen in their lives. Set up a time to talk to them to find out what attitudes or choices they have made personally and professionally to help themselves get and stay motivated.

Find role models in emotional intelligence too. People with amazing social skills, who light up a room wherever they go, or who can soothe the distress of others with mastery or diffuse tense situations with aplomb. These are people to emulate and follow.

Bring out the best in yourself

To bring out the best in yourself, you have to first be able to recognise what your special gifts and talents are.

Often, people do not recognise their own innate gifts or talents because they are a part of who they are, and they often take for granted the things that come easily to them.

Take some time to identify what “your best” is. Find a quiet space, sit down with a pen and paper and brainstorm. Make a list of the things that you know you do well, or that you have been complimented on.

Once you are finished writing, go back over your list and highlight the “talents” that stand out for you. These are your “highest personal strengths”.

Another way to go about this exercise is to ask five people whom you trust to give you genuine feedback. Ask them: “What do you see as my top strengths?” Their input will reinforce what you know about your strengths.

Build your self-esteem

Incorporate these behaviours into your life every day:

* Be kind to yourself. Put more energy into noticing the things that are good about you rather than what you consider to be faults. Change what you think needs changing and then be kind to yourself.

* Allow yourself to be joyful. The more fun you have in your life, the more motivated you will feel about continuing to create the life you want.

* Give yourself a “pat on the back” for your achievements. Do not wait for other people to tell you that you are wonderful; tell yourself that. There is nothing wrong with congratulating yourself on achieving a goal.

Chart your life

Develop a game plan in which you have taken into account the following things:

* Your mission, purpose and passion that we talked about earlier;

* Your personal values;

* Your signature strengths; and

* The dreams and goals you have for your life.

Charting your life is similar to developing a business plan that is based on your visions, values and goals.

Make a list of some of the things that you would like to accomplish. Pick out one or two on which to move forward. Think about each of the areas that are listed above and write about them.

When you know your purpose and passion, they — along with your personal values — will be the foundation of your plan.

Think seriously about how you will accomplish or live up to your purpose, passion and values. What personal strengths can you employ to help you?

To conclude, intrinsic motivation, or self-motivation, is the engine that moves our lives, the force that pushes us forward. It is our internal drive that gives us the desire to achieve and accomplish goals.