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Aug 19, 2020

In today’s episode, we’re sharing a really fun interview we had with Dr. Richard Ryan, one of the originators of Self-Determination Theory. Self-Determination Theory is considered one of the leading theories of human motivation and has been adopted by thousands of scientists worldwide. As a clinical psychologist, consultant, and researcher, Dr. Richard Ryan studies human motivation and how factors within schools, workplaces, and other environments affect people’s persistence, quality of behavior, and well-being.


In today’s episode, we discuss the research and theory behind what motivates us to do better and become the best versions of ourselves. Dr. Ryan explains the Self-Determination Theory; how it can help us achieve happiness and satisfaction through becoming more connected, competent, and in control; and the social and cultural factors that may be facilitating (or undermining) our sense of initiative, well-being, and our ability to perform.


We really go deep in this episode with Dr. Ryan! He shares his expertise on how to build the life you want, the differences between external vs. internal motivation, the obstacles that are blocking you from connecting to your intrinsic motivation (which, in turn, block you from achieving success in all areas of your life), how to get to a place where you feel authentically you (and become even closer to the intimate connections in your life), as well as how to reignite your purpose in life! This is a not-to-miss episode.


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Topics Discussed:

[:32] About today’s episode.

[:52] Our review of the week!

[2:10] Sophie reads a profound quote from Ram Dass.

[3:28] What we love about today’s interview with Dr. Richard Ryan.

[5:03] Exciting things coming up with IGNTD, and our current IGNTD groups and offerings!

[8:31] Be sure to tag us with any ‘aha moments’ from today’s episode!

[10:15] The conversation portion of the podcast.

[11:40] Would Dr. Ryan agree that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is sort of the entry point when it comes to understanding human motivation?

[12:10] What was it that motivated Dr. Ryan to study human motivation?

[14:00] Our natural propensities and intrinsic motivations as humans.

[15:53] What self-determination theory is.

[22:11] Obstacles that are blocking you from connecting to intrinsic motivation.

[25:20] External vs. internal goals through the lens of self-determination theory.

[30:55] Dr. Jaffe and Dr. Ryan exchange thoughts on the methods used in traditional drug/alcohol rehabilitation and compare them to the methods Dr. Ryan uses when helping someone change their thoughts and behaviors.

[35:50] Is work (and school) often an obstacle for a lot of people in finding motivation?

[37:58] One of the biggest predictors of substance abuse.

[40:00] Hacks for increasing happiness and satisfaction through becoming more connected, competent, and in control.

[43:43] They key qualities of a transparent, authentic relationship; and how healthy relationships play a huge role in our own happiness and wellness.

[47:09] Dr. Ryan highlights some other key pieces that are incredibly important to living an authentic, fulfilled life.

[49:33] Dr. Ryan shares a mindfulness hack.

[52:12] Where to learn more about Dr. Ryan and self-determination theory.

[53:53] Tag us and @SelfDeterminationTheory and let us know what resonated the most with you!


Mentioned in this Episode:

“What you meet in another being is the projection of your own level of evolution.” — Ram Dass

Ram Dass

Marianne Williamson

Alexandra Roxo

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Self-Determination Theory

@SelfDeterminationTheory on Facebook
@CenterforSDT on Twitter

Center for Self-Determination Theory (CSDT) on LinkedIn


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