Some Monday Randomness…(not so random this time)

Posted: July 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Today’s post started as the title indicates… a little random blurb about something I came across on someone else’s blog. However as often happens, my random thoughts sometime turn into full blown posts that I think warrant a little more attention (the same thing happened here, and here)

It all started when I came across a youtube clip  (courtesy of called “The Suprise Science of Motivation” by Daniel Pink.

And, let me preface all of this by saying that as a Psychology major, people and human nature truly fascinate me. Truth be told, I am always curious about what makes people tick.

That being said, Daniel Pink’s talk was nothing short of amazing.

So, what is it? The cars? Money? Fancy dinners? Dating Beyonce?

I’d put a ring on it

Seriously, what is it?!?!

Thankfully, Daniel Pink has the answer (and it’s probably not what you think).

You see, research shows that for menial tasks, the  ‘if/then’ or extrinsic motivators work very well. In other words, if you do this, then you will get this… the definition of a menial task certainly varies from person to person and profession to profession.

But, what happens when people are given a task in which they need to think outside the box? Interestingly, research shows that extrinsic motivators have the opposite effect on productivity. As Pink put it, “Simple sets of rules and a clear destination narrows one’s focus.”

So what is it that truly motivates people to be productive in a creative, “outside the box” environment?

As Pink puts it, 3 things:

1)Autonomy– the urge to direct our own lives

2)Mastery- the desire to get better at something that matters

3)Purpose- the urging to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

I bring this up because myself and many of my friends are in the process of trying to find a job and obviously are looking for ‘the perfect fit’.

Truthfully, I think it all comes down to this…

Are you happy with extrinsic motivation (money, vacation, etc.) if the result is doing menial work and in a situation where autonomy is low, mastery is not wanted (for fear you may take your bosses job), and purpose is simply to show up with a smile on your face while not upsetting the apple cart?


May taking less money and prestige in a spot where you can truly think outside the box, have a chance to master your skills, and  have a purpose bigger than yourself be something that is paramount?

Certainly, this is something to consider.

For those of you who want to watch the whole thing, here you go:

And for those of you readers:

  1. JBrown says:

    Love the TED talk and it’s a great book for anyone who hasn’t read it.
    To get great work done, you need to understand motivation 2.0.

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