When I publish my blog, I wait for the comments on it. How the writeup is seen by my readers. What are their reactions? What are the comments that are being made? What has touched readers the most? So and so forth. So many questions arise in my mind. I am lucky to get lot of encouraging comments from readers across the globe.
Of late I started observing that I am elated to read the comments when I publish my blog. Rather I am eager to see the comments and respond to the readers. It is the communication with them that makes me happy. Sometimes for first few days there are very few comments and I feel unhappy about it. I start feeling happy when comments start pouring in.
Are comments the only yardstick about worth of the blog? Should one judge the blog by the response or its intrinsic value? What is the intrinsic value of the blog? Am I writing for the comments that I get? Or is there anything else at play?
When I started writing my blog, the reason was to share with the world, what I have experienced and learnt. I am perfectly aware, that neither I am storehouse of knowledge nor I have experienced everything, that is to be experienced. Being introvert and self-reflecting person, I felt the need to share what I have. Slowly I am realizing, that I am looking at my blog from the perspective of reader response. Is it good or bad? I do not know.
External validation/ appreciation is built in our psyche. We grow on appreciation/ external validation. As a child when you take your first steps your parents are there to appreciate you. When you first call out your mother or father they are elated and appreciate you. When you start going to school and start learning alphabets the kindergarten teacher appreciates you. At the same time if you do something which is not right you are reprimanded. Society conditions you in such a fashion that you look for appreciation/ external validation. You crave for that when you are in high school. You would like that the crush you have on that girl/ boy should appreciate you for your looks/ intelligence/ qualities. You are appreciated when you get excellent grades in school or college or when you perform best in sports. At every step/ milestone in, society conditions you, to seek more external validation / appreciation. When you complete college and start a job, the work place rewards you, for the job well performed, you get bonuses for excellent performance. All this is external validation of your efforts, skills / competencies. In plain terms this is referred to as external motivation. There is nothing bad in this. Only danger is that, you may become addict to external validation.
Can you do things for your intrinsic satisfaction without bothering about the external validation.? In the example, I gave above, I felt, I am giving more weightage to reader response, for my blog. I am driven by external factors.
Then what is intrinsic motivation? What you do, that does not require or you do not need external validation? How can you cultivate the intrinsic motivation? If you become dependent on external validation all the time, soon you may find yourself unhappy, doing things you may not want to do. The societal conditioning makes your ego grow? What about your soul?
I would like you, to reflect on the following, from the book “Awareness” by Father Anthony DeMello. It is instructive.
“Recall the kind of feeling you have when someone praises you, when you are approved, accepted, applauded and contrast that with the kind of feeling that arises within you when you look at the sunset or sun rise, or Nature in general or when you read a book or watch a movie that you thoroughly enjoy. Get taste of this feeling and contrast it with the first, namely, the one that was generated within you when you were praised.
Understand that the first type of feeling comes from self-glorification, self-promotion. It is a worldly feeling. The second comes from self-fulfillment, is a soul feeling. Here is another contrast: Recall the kind of feeling you have when you succeed, when you have made it, when you get to the top, when you win a game or bet or argument. And contrast it with the kind of feeling when you really enjoy the job you are doing, you are absorbed in the action you are currently engaged in. And once again notice that qualitative difference between the worldly feeling and the soul feeling.”
Reflect on this for a day, a week or a month, when you are performing various activities and find out for yourself, how many of those activities, invoke worldly feelings and how many soul feelings.
Tell me what you do for motivating yourself intrinsically. What is the way, to not to become addict to External motivation? Whether it is really possible to do so?