Motivation 3.0

Cover of "Drive: The Surprising Truth Abo...

Cover via Amazon

 I just completed listening to the audiobook version of Daniel Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. This book follows the evolution of motivation from its biological roots in self-preservation (dubbed “Motivation 1.0”) to the carrot-and-stick incentives of seeking reward and avoiding punishment (“Motivation 2.0”), to what research is finding to be a higher motivation, labeled “Motivation 3.0”.

Earlier versions of motivation were responses to external forces. Unlike those earlier revisions of motivation, Motivation 3.0 is characterized by a human desire for a sense of autonomy, a chance to become masters of our particular craft, and to be driven by a purpose that is beyond ourselves.  The book progresses from sharing studies that have indicated that “carrot and stick” motivation only yields its desired results for a subset of repetitive, non-creative activities,  to a discussion of intrinsic and extrinsic types of motivation. For people who are intrinsically motivated, their motivation is fostered by their sense of autonomy, mastery, and purpose.Autonomy can be expressed in various aspects of our work: 
  1. The task itself
  2. The time in which we do it
  3. The technique we apply to the work
  4. The team with which we work

Different people will value autonomy over various aspects of their work more than others. I may most value autonomy over technique, and you may value autonomy  over the time in which you elect to do the work most. A couple of items in this discussion resonated with me:

  1. You can have autonomy, yet still be interdependent.
  2. Accountability still exists, even when there is autonomy.

Mastery is all about working toward a high level of execution.

  1. Mastery is a mindset: It requires a dedication to performing activities that will help us become better.
  2. Mastery is a pain: Becoming a master requires repetition over a long duration, like 10 years.
  3. Mastery is asymptotic: You can get closer and closer to mastery, but never be truly perfect.

Purpose is all about having a cause that goes beyond ourselves. The audiobook version was excellent, allowing me to cover much of the book while I was performing activities that I could not do while reading the book. For folks in St. Joseph County, Indiana, the audiobook is available for checkout on iPod at the St. Joseph County Library. You can use the library’s site to check for availability. Like some other audiobooks I have checked out, I suspect I will be purchasing a print copy of this book soon. The paper copy will serve as a convenient reference. 

There is a video that shares some of the book’s points, but in my opinion is a far cry from spending the time to experience the entire book, either in audio or print format. However, the video will take about 10 minutes to watch, the audiobook is about 6 hours long. My recommendation is that you watch the video, then go get the book. 


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