Whenever you see the x-factor in someone's output - that little extra something that turns the good into the awesome - it's a marker for intrinsic motivation. Monetary motivation plateaus at the point you think your work equals your pay. For most people, that happens when the product is good but not awesome. To get to awesome you need to think you might be changing the world, saving lives, redeeming your reputation, attracting the mate of your dreams, or something else that is emotionally large.
One of my techniques for staying motivated is that I put everything I do in the context of how it might improve the entire world, or at least some subset of it.
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Written by Jaime González García , dad, husband, software engineer, ux designer, amateur pixel artist, tinkerer and master of the arcane arts. You can also find him on Twitter jabbering about random stuff.