# How is intrinsic motivation related to autotelic?
How different Intrinsic motivation is to the idea of autotelic (Flow experience is an autotelic experience)? I ask this question as these two ideas are driven by internal rewards. Even though the the two ideas are similar, I notice that there are subtle differences.
The similarity: Intrinsic motivation and autotelic both refer to the idea that you are doing an activity for internal rewards. When you’re programming because you enjoy coding by itself, that’s both autotelic and intrinsically motivated.
The difference: Even though both of the ideas are for internal rewards, the internal rewards from intrinsic motivation and autotelic as a motivation are different. Autotelic internal rewards is a subset of intrinsic motivation, therefore every autotelic activity is intrinsically motivated, but not all intrinsically motivated activity are autotelic.
For example, a person who is learning to code may be motivated to start a business. This person is therefore intrinsically motivated, but the coding activity is not autotelic (it’s exotelic). But any Flow activities are exotelic first before they become autotelic, so this person may eventually find coding to be autotelic.
An example of intrinsic motivation is when an employee becomes an IT professional because he or she wants to learn about how computer users interact with computer networks. The employee has the intrinsic motivation to gain more knowledge, and will continue to want to learn even in the face of failure.
Learning that is intrinsically motivated can be either autotelic or exotelic. Autotelic learning is pursued for its own sake.