There are 3 factors that motivate you to and bring out your best work: autonomy (self-directed work), mastery (getting better at stuff), and purpose (serving a greater vision).
Financial gains don’t motivate you to do your best all the time. We all want you all to be successful and we have no doubt you will if have the right tools and make the most of the rights opportunities.
Recent research reveals that when creative thinking is part and parcel of your job description, external motivation just doesn’t work. The year-end bonus, the promotion, the basic dangled carrot approach – these things don’t inspire better performance.
What really gets creatives fired up is, well, ourselves. That is, intrinsic motivation. If we can imagine an achievement, see ourselves progressing toward that goal, and understand that we are gaining new skills and knowledge, we will be driven to do great work.
In a recent post, science writer Jonah Lehrer cites an interesting study about “self-talk” – the running commentary we always have going on in our heads. Fifty-three undergraduate students were divided into two groups and then challenged to solve anagrams:
“The first group was told to prepare for an anagram-solving task by thinking, for one minute, about whether they would work on anagrams. This is the ‘Will I?’ condition, which the scientists refer to as the ‘interrogative form of self-talk’. The second group, in contrast, was told to spend one minute thinking that they would work on anagrams. This is the ‘I Will’ condition, or the ‘declarative form of self-talk’. Both groups were then given ten minutes to solve as many anagrams as possible.”
Contrary to what you might expect, the “Will I?” group solved significantly more puzzles. The uncertainty created by the question, allowed the students to decide to challenge themselves, and then excel. Lehrer sums it up:
“Subsequent experiments by the scientists suggested that the power of the ‘Will I?’ condition resides in its ability to elicit intrinsic motivation. (We are intrinsically motivated when we are doing an activity for ourselves, because we enjoy it. In contrast, extrinsic motivation occurs when we’re doing something for a paycheck or any ‘extrinsic’ reward.) By interrogating ourselves, we set up a well-defined challenge that we can master. And it is this desire for personal fulfillment – being able to tell ourselves that we solved the anagrams – that actually motivates us to keep on trying.”
In his latest book, Drive, author Daniel Pink debunks the power of external motivators, and expands on the intrinsic motivators that inspire us to do great work. Using research from a study out of MIT, Pink argues that traditional rewards – external motivators like a year-end bonus – only elicit better performance from people doing rote tasks. But once the barest amount of brainpower is required, higher financial rewards fail to produce better work. In fact, they actually inspire worse performance.
For creative thinkers, Pink identifies three key motivators: autonomy (self-directed work), mastery (getting better at stuff), and purpose (serving a greater vision). All three are intrinsic motivators. Even a purpose, which can seem like an external motivator, will be internalized if you truly believe in it.
A recent Harvard study further reinforces the power of intrinsic motivation. After tracking 1200 knowledge workers, Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer found that the # 1 motivator for the employees was progress – the feeling that they were moving forward and achieving a greater goal. They write:
“On days when workers have the sense they’re making headway in their jobs, or when they receive support that helps them overcome obstacles, their emotions are most positive and their drive to succeed is at its peak. On days when they feel they are spinning their wheels or encountering roadblocks to meaningful accomplishment, their moods and motivation are lowest.”
As creative thinkers, we want to make progress, and we want to move big ideas forward. So, it’s no surprise that the best motivator is being empowered to take action.
When it comes to recommendations for creative leaders, Amabile and Kramer don’t mince words: “Scrupulously avoid impeding progress by changing goals autocratically, being indecisive, or holding up resources.” In short, give your team members what they need to thrive, and then get out of the way.
What is Mind Mapping?
“A mind map is a diagram used to visually outline information. A mind map is often created around a single word or text, placed in the center, to which associated ideas, words and concepts are added. Major categories radiate from a central node, and lesser categories are sub-branches of larger branches. Categories can represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items related to a central key word or idea.
Mind maps can be drawn by hand, either as “rough notes” during a lecture or meeting, for example, or as higher quality pictures when more time is available. An example of a rough mind map is illustrated.”
I’m going to sit down in my office tonight and create mind maps for 2 passive income ideas I want to bring into fruition. My biggest problem is focusing on what I need to accomplish. I picked up this tip from Pat Flynn on his mind hacks podcast episode #12. I’ll let you know how it goes tonight. Do you have any tips that work for you? I cant be the only person who maintains a full and part time job in addition to raising a 3 year old. Thanks in advance for your productivity hacks.
Hi! Thanks for checking out my blog whether by accident or using Google search. My name is Cass and this is a blog to talk about my two biggest passions: Self development and Passive Income.
Some things may work some may not but either way I’ll share about what I learned most during the process. I want to give a shout out Pat Flynn. If you have’nt heard of him check him out now. He’s awesome and gave me the motivation to try and create the life I want for myself and my family.
Thanks for your time.