I have been a huge fan of Daniel Pink’s writing since I read his book A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. In this book, Dan makes a powerful argument that virtually all left brain, sequential tasks are either being automated or outsourced. He goes on to suggest that what is needed is the incredibly powerful combination of creative, right brain thinking, supported by sequential, left brain thinking. If you haven’t read this book, I strongly encourage it. But what I really want to talk about in this post is Daniel pink’s new book: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

No Dangling Carrot
It's time to recognize a new type of motivation that actually is motivating.

This book blew my mind, it made my eyes roll back in my head and blink “tilt,” and smoke come pouring out of my ears. Well, not literally, but it kind of felt like that, only in a good way.

Like so many people in our modern society, I was brought up to believe that people are basically motivated by two primary things, reward and punishment. I can remember many times, being frustrated at not being able to get myself to do something which I felt I “should.” I often thought to myself “well I guess not doing this doesn’t hurt badly enough, when it does, I’ll do it.” Dan refers to this as “Motivation 2.0” and described it as a motivational system of the industrial age. He argues that what we need in the modern world is “Motivation 3.0” which is intrinsic in nature. He describes this new type of motivation as having three primary aspects: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

He lays out an incredibly solid case of research which has been known over the last 50 years, demonstrating that the industrial age extrinsic motivation concepts are truly problematic and in many cases end up REDUCING motivation rather than increasing it. This fits very well with my own experience.

He gives many powerful examples and suggestions for how to implement Motivation 3.0 in our lives, workplaces, and schools. I’m still processing how to apply this most effectively in my own life. But this is powerful stuff, and I would strongly suggest you read this book — whoever you are, whatever you do, this is something that you need to know, really know, deep in your bones, in order to be truly happy and successful.

Note: the Amazon.com links in this post are affiliate links, and I get a tiny commission if you purchase through them.