“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziggler
Have you had one of those days, months years…decades where your energy, motivation and enthusiasm were on strike? About six months ago, that was my situation. I had lost focus on applying what I teach. It was easier to tell others what to do, than to actually apply it myself.
Are you unknowingly sabotaging yourself? When it comes to motivation, what you don’t know can hurt you. What motivates you to consistently take action? The answers may surprise you!
Do you have more mental capacity than a dog?
For years, (albeit well intentioned) we have missed the boat when it comes to personal motivation. Historically, the field of psychology has viewed human motivation on the same level as a dog. That is a little offensive isn’t it? Research has now proven that we operate at a much higher level than animals. Hooray!
So, how do you create an environment that engages the human spirit and fosters motivation? Hint, it has nothing to with the perverbial carrot and stick or rewards for behavior system. This is something that you may have known intuitively (this is what I have been preaching for years) that we are not rats in a cage behaving in order to get the treat!
Take 10 minutes to watch this video adapted from a talk by Dan Pink at RSA.
I ran across this video and invite you to watch it in the next 24 hours then share it with someone else. It reveals great legitimate research on how you can better motivate others and yourself.
I want you to question the long held belief that if you “reward a certain behavior” you will get more of that behavior and if you “punish the behavior” you get less.
MIT, University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon and others have replicated this study on motivation and all found that:
1) Monetary rewards work only if the task being rewarded is mechanical, repetitive in nature, and requires no real thought process. For simple, straight forward tasks the “if you do this…you get that…” reward system really works.
2) Monetary rewards do not work if the task requires even basic cognitive skills. In fact, rewarding tasks that involve thinking actually reduces performance. Higher incentives lead to worse performance.
“How can that be,” you ask?
Yes, money is important. People need to be paid well enough that money is no longer an issue. However, in tasks requiring any higher level thinking, these three major keys have proven to be vital to motivation:
1) Autonomy--our desire to be self directed, to be at the helm, to be in control of the direction of our lives. Old school management values compliance and stifles motivation in the long run. However, if you want lasting engagement, self direction (taking the helm) is better. There are countless examples where applying this principle has created incredible returns. So rather than giving an incentive bonus, think of ways to help create an environment where self direction is integral.
2) Mastery--the drive to be better at doing things. This includes ongoing growth, ongoing challenge and ongoing applied learning. For example, playing a musical instrument or learning how to build something on the weekend, not for monetary gain, but for the sheer pleasure of personal growth. Our psyche loves a good challenge.
3) Purpose--working/living for a bigger purpose outside of oneself. Motivation is not about maximizing profits, but maximizing purpose. It is a deeply rooted belief that we are contributing and making the world a more inspired place to live. It is a cause to fight for--something that stirs the soul to greatness.
Bottom-line, what does this mean to you? Your organization? Your family?
To increase motivation, create and cultivate a culture where autonomy, mastery, and purpose are intrinsic characteristics.
This month’s invitation:
1) Take a moment to ponder and become aware of your view of motivation and where it might be improved.
2) How can you increase your motivation on a personal level by:
a. Being more self directed and at the helm;
b. Challenging yourself to grow, learn and master a new skill;
c. Determining what it is that motivates you. What is the soul-driving purpose that leads you to contribute?
3) How can you take the above and apply it in your job and family life?
Until next time, remember that when times get tough to “Go to Helm.” Remember that I am pulling for you today-no matter the storm.