“The secret of getting ahead is getting started”. – Mark Twain
The school year in Europe starts in September. In France, people exchange greetings, “Bonne rentrée”. ‘Rentrer” (pronunciation – Rahn-tray) means ‘to return’. Although it originally meant “reprendre l’école” (back at school); these days, we also use it to refer to work after the summer holiday “reprendre ton travail” and not only “reprendre tes études” (studies).
Jorge Liboreiro even started his EuroNews Briefing article with: “The first week of September marks la rentrée in the Belgian capital, the synchronised comeback of freshly energised, glowingly tanned eurocrats to their spotless offices” (sic).
Not everyone is motivated to resume or start studies or work. Those with low levels or no motivation depend on external rewards (e.g. high grades, money, promotion, or material things) to get involved, known as extrinsic motivation.
The highly motivated ones are nudged by the sheer satisfaction of being part of the activity or process. They are challenged, curious, or praised. Pundits call this intrinsic motivation. Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan’s theory of extrinsic and intrinsic was developed in the 70s-80s. While extrinsic is a trigger (initial boost), intrinsic is sustainable.
Intrinsic motivation is long-lasting, whereas extrinsic motivation is short-term; both are relevant to personal development.
Perception, judgment, or approval of others can be detrimental motivating factors, particularly in our modern Internet and social media society. Instead, we should focus on positive intrinsic reasons, such as wellbeing and mindfulness, connection with people and our environment, and enjoying what we do.
“Whatever anyone else says or does, their words and their actions are truly about themselves. Don’t take it personally when they rant, even if they direct their unhappiness in your direction. Their negativity is basically selfishness, and their selfishness is about them, not about you”. – Jonathan Lockwood Huie