The stick and the carrot game have been around a long time. Finding our carrot isn’t always as clear or as easy to picture in today’s environments we live and play in. What we think was our motivation we can learn quickly is the wrong self motivation to have. We need to figure out how to return to our cave like ways again where the only thing that motivated us was just trying to stay alive like the Groods. Just not living in complete fear so we never venture outside or hide behind a rock. That would be the bad thing to do.
There’s been many things that have tricked our minds to make us think is a basic need. Internet connection for example I sometimes think is a basic need. Because when its not working I freak out, getting all frustrated because I believe its my motivation to learn more. Instead, the basic need is learning period. I could just as easily not wasted all that time practicing a start up ritual dancing around my router to get it running right and used that 30 minutes productively to pick up a book off my library shelf to read. But we don’t do that because our basic needs are misaligned.
It’s the reward the internet has provided me in giving me fast information to learn or digest that has now made it a basic motivator for me instead of just learning. If we can figure out the rewards in some of our work again that used to be our basic needs, we can find alignment again with the right motivators that produce the best outcomes. These rewards are what produces a desirable behavior.
Another example, when I get a notification on any device like the one I am writing on now, I’ve made it a basic need to find out what that notification is. I’ve programmed myself over time to actually create an undesirable behavior by allowing notifications to distract me from the true purpose I have. It’s an extrinsic motivator, not intrinsic. We need to bring our motivators in-line with intrinsic reasons to achieve our desired behaviors versus extrinsic. The intrinsic ones are where we find our values or why for doing what we are doing.
“Intrinsically motivated people want to be able to dictate when they work, what they work on, and what they are responsible for. They do not need to be directed or rewarded, because they enjoy working and do so voluntarily, without demanding anything in return.” – Daniel Pink, Drive
Exterior incentives don’t do that. They also don’t usually produce a desired behavior for the long term. If I said “I love you,” every time you gave me a like and not other reasons like how it made me feel or impacted me, it would become superficial over time. That’s what happens with exterior motivators. They eventually outgrow our needs and don’t supply the rewards we desire tho feel or want.
So this week I will be doing my best to learn and share about motivators. Help us reflect and make sure, that our motivations for doing the very goals we set this month and year, are the right ones to set. Remember, you can always adjust and change your goals for the year. More than likely they will change. Just don’t drop them in frustration or because the wrong motivator to create the desired behaviors wasn’t a match.