Introduction: Living in the Moment. Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation in Our Daily Lives


Living in the present moment is something many psychologists, life coaches and motivational speakers often preach. Why? Do they have a point? Do you live in the moment?

We spend a lot of time dwelling in the past and worrying about the future. Living in the moment is important because it allows you to appreciate and to see what actually is.

Understanding the concept of living in the moment is no easy task. People often tell us to focus on the present and to forget the past and the future. But what does this mean? If we’re motivated for the future or what will come afterwards (also known as a goal), can we appreciate the moment in which we live? Ultimately, I think many of our disappointments and unhappiness stems from focusing too much on the future and living in memories of the past.

The theme of this blog will discuss our motivations in some practical aspects of our daily lives and that if we are motivated extrinsically, living and truly appreciating the present moment is impossible. There are exceptions; for example, when someone is serving others. But I am talking about someone who is operating and motivated for themselves on a strictly extrinsic level.

We’ll start off light and discuss regular situations like work, school and hooking-up. Then we’ll move towards more difficult examples in what I like to call the “family dilemma” as well as the difference between your self consciousness and your mental processes.

This article written by Timothy Whiston gives a good idea of what it means to live in the present.

What does living in the present mean to you? Share your thoughts below. Cheers.

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2 responses to “Introduction: Living in the Moment. Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation in Our Daily Lives

  1. hey dan whats up man, Great blog nice article – i came accross a very interesting book called the time paradox http://www.thetimeparadox.com/ . One of its writers is Phil Zimbardo who was famous in the 70 for conducting the stanford prision experiments. The book talks about how people focus on time, and like you mention in yor article, if people live in the present, the past or the future, further it describes what attitude do people have of each perspective , i.e if they think of the past do they think of it in a positive or negative way, in the present the same, and future orientated people the same ( with a positive or negative perception of the future or present ) Very interesting stuff thought you may find interesting. The book however talks about this in very practical terms not alluding to any kind of spirituality

  2. Hey Yasser, good to hear from you and glad you are enjoying the start of my blog. I will be adding posts on a regular basis, so check back soon!

    Yes, great reference with The Time Paradox. I studied Phillip Zimbardo in my high school, he’s a great psychologist. I’ve checked out the preview on Google books and the book’s emphasis on time is critical in understanding the posts I intend on publishing on this site. Thank you for pointing it out.

    Our time in this world is finite. We will all die eventually. But as some psychologists suggest, “the reality of death is psychologically unbearable [to us] so we refuse to accept it”.

    We must accept our finitude so we can appreciate our time and what we do with it. Are we using our time to obtain something extrinsic? Is there another way? These questions and more will be discussed in my future posts. Stay tuned…

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