The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us

Our motivations are unbelievably interesting.  We are not as endlessly manipulable & predictable as you would think!  Reward or punish?  This is the typical motivational scheme.  Once you get above rudimentary cognitive skill, rewards don’t work that way.  For simple straight forward tasks…if you do this then you get that, this is great!  But when a task gets more complicated, it requires conceptual, creative thinking, these kinds of motivators don’t work.  FACT: Money is a motivator.  If you don’t pay people enough, people won’t be motivated.  Pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table.  This helps them think about the work, not the money.

3 factors that lead to better performance:  autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  Autonomy = desire to be self directed.  Mastery = the urge to get better at stuff.  Purpose = brings better tallent…doing sophisticated, technically, highly skilled, challenging work. You flourish when you are animated by purpose not just profits.

This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace.


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