Choose Your Own Adventure (Authentically) Essay

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In Why We Do What We Do, motivational psychologist Edward Deci explains that, “External cunning or pressure... can sometimes bring about compliance, but with compliance comes various negative consequences, including the urge to defy” (9). This “external motivation” can cause worry and stress, while being autonomous--motivated by your inner self--“is associated with positive aspects of personality” (183). When autonomous, you choose your own adventures authentically, and, as a result, experience more positive consequences. Yet, being autonomous and authentic isn’t an easy task. Like many students at Calvin, you likely hold an academic scholarship that requires a high grade to keep. Does this external motivation make you want to work …show more content…

Perhaps you may even have a professor who encourages you to try hard and not worry about grades. All of these relationships can add valuable autonomy support to your life, allowing you to feel less concerned with failure and more excited about what you can succeed in. However, becoming autonomous isn’t something you should expect others to do for you. To become more authentic and autonomous in your decisions, you must become as non ego-involved as possible. As Deci puts it, “Being ego-involved... means that people’s feelings of self-worth are contingent upon some type of outcome.” He explains, “Ego-involvements make people a pawn to their emotions” (189). When ego-involved, you define yourself by what grade you got on your history test. If you receive a “C”, you may feel not only disappointment, but hatred toward yourself, while, if you receive an “A”, you may find yourself looking down on others. This attitude of reliance on a grade makes you a slave to that grade--definitely not autonomous. In order to cast aside ego-involvement, you must regulate your emotions. Deci explains that “When people want only happiness, they can actually undermine their own development because their quest for happiness can lead them to suppress other aspects of their experience.” He adds, “Being integrated and autonomous means allowing oneself to feel emotions--all

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