Motivation – what works?

I stumbled upon a website yesterday called Goalfinch. It’s a great idea – we all know the phrase “put your money where your mouth is.” Basically you cough up cash, set a goal, and choose friends to hold you accountable. If they verify you achieved the goal, you get your money back. If not, the money goes to charity. Sounds pretty motivating, right?

goalfinch website

Not according to Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, By: Daniel Pink. I’ve been reading a lot of books about motivation; what drives us, what makes us happy? What’ll make an employee work that extra 10 hours of overtime a week and not resent their boss? Why do we set goals, whether it’s losing weight, updating our portfolio, saving money — and fall short of achieving them?

Drive deals a lot with intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic meaning the motivation comes from within myself. Extrinsic meaning something external is driving my actions.

The book claims that external rewards work in the short term, but unless there’s a spark within someone to do something – whether it’s pride in their company, volunteering because it nourishes their soul – studies listed in the book prove that extrinsic motivators are the wrong way to go. I recommend reading the book for a more in-depth explanation and examples that you may relate to.


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