In the book Drive, Daniel Pink delves at what has motivated humans throughout history and discusses how we progressed from simple survival to the carrot-and-stick technique that is still used today – and why it is ineffective. Pink says that it's time to go back and offer workers autonomy, a purpose, and the flexibility to master their skill so that we can be as organically motivated as we were as children — a strategy he refers to as motivation 3.0.
Extrinsic motivators don't function because both the carrot and the stick are dead. External rewards were all that was required to inspire workers when the industrial age began. There was so much money to be made and such a wonderful life to be lived if only you had a little extra money to spend on new conveniences like television, radio, or pre-cooked dinners. However, as we transition from the industrial to the information eras, putting a bonus on top of a bonus for quick delivery no longer works — most consumers simply don't care. Expenses to meet our fundamental requirements, such as rent and food, have never been lower, but what we value most now is time. External rewards and punishments, however, are not without flaws. This results in disgruntled customers and agitated workers, rather than better and faster labor. Even more intriguing, adding financial incentives to jobs that involve creative thinking puts workers under such much stress that they are unable to complete the assignment.
Extrinsic incentives deplete our inner motivation over time. According to Daniel Pink, we need intrinsic drive to succeed at this type of activity. Doing something only for the sheer pleasure of doing it. We're either passionate about it, have a lot of fun with it, or are simply curious, as we were as children. If you're like most adults, those days are long gone since you lost your intrinsic motivation as the world repeatedly taught you to rely on extrinsic motivation. When children are asked to draw twice, once for fun and once for a modest reward, you can alter their reward system and find that the first group is willing to draw simply for fun afterwards, but the second group refuses to draw without the incentive. We live in a society where if you do this, you'll receive that, and it's killing our motivation.
You'll be happier if you can find a way to get into the zone at work. This is when Dan's "motivation 3.0" comes into play. We need to rekindle our inner ambition to achieve excellence. We love to offer our best when we're given a task that challenges our skills without being overpoweringor dull, and we're permitted to work on it independently. Imagine losing track of time while painting, reading, or planning your honeymoon while playing a video game for hours. This state is known as flow, and while it cannot endure indefinitely, it is critical that you experience it on a regular basis while working. Imagine losing track of time while painting, reading, or planning your honeymoon while playing a video game for hours. This condition is known as flow, and while it cannot endure indefinitely, it is critical that you experience it on a regular basis while working.