As we learn more about ourselves over time, we learn more about what motivates us. With that knowledge has come an evolution in motivation theory and Daniel Pink is one of those leading the way. Daniel Pink is a best-selling author whose book, Drive, discusses modern-day motivation and introduces his model for it, Motivation 3.0.
The Old Models
At the beginning of mankind, we operated with one basic motivating factor, survival. Gathering food and avoiding predators ruled most of our thinking and actions. Pink calls this instinctual model, based on biological urges, Motivation 1.0.
The Motivation 2.0 model went a step further and was based on a theory that we, as humans, were motivated to seek reward and avoid punishment. This model was widely accepted in motivation and leadership circles for a long time even though it did not account for our uniqueness as human beings and likened us to other animals. The reason I say that is animals, in general, tend to respond to sticks (punishments) and carrots (rewards).
Finally… Motivation 3.0!
Through his research on motivation, Daniel Pink has discovered what he believes to be the new model for what motivates every one of us. Pink's theory is that we are motivated by a combination of the following three things:
- Autonomy – Autonomy is defined as the freedom from external control or influence. If you stop and think about it, we generally do not like being told what to do! When it comes to work we like to choose: "what we do, where we do it, how we do it and who we do it with". Pink refers to these as a person's "4 T's: their task, their time, their techniques and their team."
- Mastery – Pink defines mastery as the desire to get better and better at something that matters. We crave the deep sense of engagement and the personal challenge that chasing mastery creates inside of us.
- Purpose – Pink claims that those who work "in the service of some greater objective can achieve even more" than those who don't. Purpose, the third motivating factor answers The question "Why?" As opposed to "How?" which "we tend to obsess over".
Autonomy. Mastery. Purpose. The three things that drive us in our lives and consequently the three things that will bring us gratification and happiness when we find the right combination of them. Daniel Pink's Drive is a mind-opening read and a tremendous resource. It has helped me shape the foundation of my leadership philosophy and what I want my life to look like.
LOVE what you do. We all have the autonomy to decide what we do. We should embrace that choice and decide to do something we love and are passionate about.
GROW who you are. We should all be intentionally growing towards our maximum potential every day. That is the path to mastery.
BUILD something greater than yourself. Find your purpose and let it guide you in everything that you do. Individual achievement alone will not suffice. Gratification, and ultimately, happiness are found through helping others and building something bigger.