Clear Confident Leader Weekly Observer, Issue #48
From the Greenbelt of Boise, Idaho, Eclipse of the Sun
Human beings have a biological drive that includes hunger, thirst, and sex. We also have another long-recognized drive: to respond to rewards and punishments in our environment. But in the middle of the twentieth century, a few scientists began discovering that humans also have a third drive— what some call “intrinsic motivation.”
– Daniel Pink, Drive (2011).
We experienced a total eclipse of the sun across a narrow band of the U.S. this week. It was short lived, only a couple of minutes, yet it had a significant impact with skies darkening, temperatures dropping, millions watching, animals stopping, and crickets chirping. It was a mesmerizing experience for me and many others in its path.
What is not well understood and frequently overlooked, is the eclipse of intrinsic motivation that many people experience daily. Daniel Pink describes in Drive, how if-then rewards, goal setting, and other factors diminish intrinsic motivations, sending “performance, creativity, and even upstanding behavior toppling like dominoes.”
Intrinsic motivation is, “the drive to do something because it is interesting, challenging, and absorbing” (Pink). It is connected to our growth, health, well-being, creativity, innovation, and altruistic behavior. When eclipsed, not only do people suffer, the effects ripple through families, organizations and communities.
Pink summarizes research that “people oriented toward autonomy and intrinsic motivation have higher self-esteem, better interpersonal relationships, and greater general well-being than those who are extrinsically motivated.” Fostering autonomy, mastery and purpose for ourselves and those around us enables us to achieve more and lead better lives.
Consider, how do I create autonomy, mastery and purpose,
- In my own life?
- In my family?
- In my groups, organizations and communities?
Let’s cultivate autonomy, mastery and purpose, and create a better future today!