Please forgive. I did not know better at the time.
I’m sorry to all of you, for making you believe our intrinsic motivation focuses on factors like Purpose and Mastery. That our Intrinsic Motivation is determined based on making the world a better place or being the best at what we do.
For many years I believed that the terms Purpose and Mastery were actual improvements on the Self Determination Theory, but over the past few years, I slowly started to realize that these terms have distanced ourselves from the truth.
It sounds great. Inspiring even, but it’s not true. Even worse, believing that our Intrinsic Motivation is determined by such unrealistic goals, makes us chase something that is in fact, unreachable.
But aren’t we motivated by helping the world and being awesome?
Yes, but to a much lesser degree than terms like ‘Purpose’ and ‘Mastery’ make us believe.
An answer that lies closer to the truth can be found in the original works of Edward Deci and Richard Ryan (Self Determination Theory, 1960). They also spoke of 3 work factors, of which one already sounds familiar: ‘Autonomy’.
However, instead of Purpose, the original works spoke of Relatedness. Which meant nothing more than being part of a group. Being able to relate to something beyond yourself. We don’t want to change the world, we just want to be part of it.
Next, instead of Mastery, the term competence was used. It was never about being the best at what we do. We just want to feel competent at what we do.
In its most basic form, our motivation comes down the following sentence:
“We all want to be part of a group and to make ourselves useful.”
Hence, the new SPACE-CAR
Basically just replacing mastery with competence, and purpose with relatedness.