Money isn’t the only motivator. It’s not even the most powerful.
Humans are motivated by many different things: money, prizes, power, praise, recognition, prestige, ego, time off, sex, and much more.
But on a more basic level our motivations can be broken into two categories – intrinsic and extrinsic – and this distinction is critical according to Dan Pink in his new book, Drive.
Extrinsic is the old carrot-and-stick approach – the hope of gain and the fear of loss. This includes payroll and bonuses.
Intrinsic motivators are more powerful and can be broken down into 3 categories:
- Autonomy – Control over your own work and destiny.
- Mastery – Continual improvement.
- Purpose – Honor personal values and be part of something bigger than just yourself.
In a throwback to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Pink points out that when a worker feels fairly compensated then intrinsic motivators may have a more powerful influence than traditional extrinsic motivators (more money). When your basic needs are taken care of then self-actualization and esteem become a higher priority than additional financial compensation.
My own life experience and working with so many money coaching clients supports this theory. In addition, workplace research corroborates this finding with studies showing monetary rewards designed to increase performance may have the opposite effect. This is particularly true for autonomous workers in jobs requiring innovation and problem solving but less true for workers completing repetitive tasks.
Why “Drive” Is Essential Reading…
The “New Retirement” is a huge issue in today’s workforce.
The crux of the new retirement is that lifespans have increased 30 years in the last 100 making the old retirement financially difficult to obtain and not very fulfilling. Most people can’t save enough to support 30-40 years of leisure and even fewer define happiness as working like a dog for 40 years so you can do nothing of substance for the last 30 years while health declines.
Instead, the new retirement is following Pink’s prescription to perfection.
Once workers satisfy their basic need they become less motivated by money and more motivated by intrinsic factors. This causes early departure from traditional careers into part-time work and encore careers.
Employers would be wise to wake up. Employees are moving on when their basic needs are met and it is needlessly costing companies a fortune. Life is short and employees want fulfillment during their brief journey on this earth.
The Pursuit Of Fulfillment Above Maximum Wealth
The call for fulfillment usually occurs around the time a prospective client is marginally financially independent. They are typically a little short of obvious financial freedom but close enough to be driven by intrinsic motivation to make the call. They are restless and don’t understand why. They’ve worked a good career, built a solid nest egg, and now something is different but they don’t know how to put all the pieces together.
Sound familiar? Many of you can probably relate. I know that was my experience in my early 30′s.
It was a very confusing time because I “had it made” by everyone’s standard – except my own. I was making good money yet there was something missing… something more. I knew I wanted to change careers but couldn’t sort the issues out. If it was about maximum wealth I would have happily stayed in the investment management business. Blogging and coaching has always been driven more by fulfillment than making money.
Unfortunately, Pink’s book didn’t exist back when I sorted these issues out. It could have helped me understand what was going on and maybe saved me a lot of trial and error. It took me years to work through the issues because there was nobody to show me the ropes. I fumbled through by intuition alone.
I recommend the book. It is a smarter, more efficient path to the knowledge.
What This Means To You…
In a nutshell, if you are financially successful (which all my readers will eventually become, of course ) then you will transition from extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation. It is as inevitable as night and day.
You may not realize it now, but when your basic needs are met for the lifestyle you feel comfortable in then the issues discussed in this book will raise their heads and demand attention… whether you like it or not.
Get Pink’s new book, Drive, and it will help provide a basic understanding of the landscape.
I hope you get good value from this resource, and I welcome your thoughts in the comments below…