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What Really Motivates Us?

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The Unseen Drive

This Ted Talk by career analyst Daniel Pink makes us think twice about the science of motivation.

He declares there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.

Elucidating on several well known social experiments over the last 40 years, he makes the point that the carrot and stick method of motivation in the workplace does not at all produce the best results.

More money does not in fact make you work harder, faster or smarter when it comes to cognitive problem solving. It does however have a place for accelerating achievement with simple mechanical tasks.

Intrinsic motivation is about the unseen drive, and about other rewards. We want to accomplish things because they matter, because it's part of something interesting or important, in the service of something larger than ourselves. Achieving mastery at a task and increased autonomy, the ability to direct our own lives, also prove to be more truly motivating than for ex. a higher paycheck.

The reward/punishment approach not only doesn't work, it can even do harm.

He sees potential for businesses to focus on a new operating system of rewards for results.

"If we bring our notions of motivation into the 21st century, if we get past this lazy, dangerous ideology of carrots and sticks, we can strengthen our businesses... and maybe, maybe, we can change the world." says Pink.

--Bibi Farber

This video was produced by Ted Talks