Intrinsic or Extrinsic Drive

I was recently listening to a Tim Ferris Podcast with Hugh Jackman. During the conversation Hugh mentioned that he encourages his kids to find something in life that makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside. If possible from there, see if it makes sense to make a career out of it.

Last week I came down with covid which got me thinking, or reflecting, on where I sit with piano and teaching. I also compared those reflections to how my mortage and pension paying day job make me feel too.

The outcome of these thoughts were reassuring and somewhat unsurprising. I don’t feel warm and fuzzy inside about my day job, however playing and teaching is one of those things in my life that give me drive. I have an intrinsic want within me that makes me want to do both of them.

Over the years it’s interesting to watch the intrinsically driven student and the extrinsically driven student. 

Children, generally have external drivers to learning the piano. It’s great for their cognitive development. Helps engage all 4 quadrants of the brain at the same time and helps them to grow. Facing adversity in music helps them develop in to stronger minded people with better problem solving skills.

I say external drivers because we as parents understand how good it is for them however when I was 6 and playing piano, NONE of these things were crossing my mind.

On the other hand, adult learners (I include myself in this) are generally intrinsically driven by a love for playing. We know what we want which makes it easier for us to spend more time at the keyboard. This level of drive is huge for gaining momentum. Problems become minor because we have that bigger goal in mind of doing something we love.

Of course, there are always exceptions to what I’ve written. Have a think though. What drives you to the keyboard?

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