Reply To: Intrinsic or extrinsic motivation?

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Julian Fernandez

First, some of what Jordan states throughout the video:

“I played this sport because I loved it”
“My competitive drive is far greater than anyone else’s that I’ve met”
“You don’t want bad things happening, but you deal with it”

I think it’s pretty clear –from what Jordan himself says– that his main source of motivation is intrinsic. So much so, that when he first retired, he did it “citing a loss of desire to play the game” as a reason (though his father’s murder and his growing celebrity status also played a role in his decision).(1)

It’s also pretty clear that his personality type is that of a great athlete (Type 3). His need for achievement was huge, and his fear of failure was low. It has been mentioned that he didn’t make his High School team (2) and that caused him a lot of pain. But he managed to use that pain and focus it on his own improvement. In that sense, I think fear of failure can also be a good source of motivation.

I would say hard work, resilience, dedication, and competitiveness are his top personal values.


(1) Source: Wikipedia’s Michael Jordan entry
(2) Though this may be not exactly accurate. According to his High School coach, Michael Jordan was not “cut” from, but “placed” on the Junior Varsity team. Source: