Many of us think that money is a great motivator. It might well be, but when we think of money, we are usually thinking of our monthly salaries and quarterly or yearly bonuses. Maybe a 10% or 20% hike if things go well – somehow beat inflation, and keep the head above water. This should sufficiently keep us engaged and motivated at work shouldn’t it? But, does it? Don’t we all still have Monday morning blues?
In the 1970s, a psychologist ran an experiment requiring students to solve math puzzles. He paid some of them, and didn’t pay the others. Interestingly, he found that those who got paid actually showed lesser interest in solving their puzzles than those who didn’t get paid. Wow – what an unexpected outcome. This work brought to the fore the differences between extrinsic motivation (such as by money) and intrinsic motivation.
Daniel Pink in his book Drive mentions the 3 ingredients to intrinsic motivation:
1. Autonomy – this is what entrepreneurs love – doing what they want, not what someone else tells them to
2. Mastery – Being an expert in the chosen field
3. Purpose – Caring about the outcome means we will spring out of bed even on a Monday morning
Ideally, every workplace or employer should maximize opportunities for their employees’ A, M and P. But we know that rarely happens. Apart from gifting your boss and HR head a copy of this book, what else can we do? We can AMP it up on our own – to the extent possible. For instance, we can volunteer to take up mini-projects on our own, find niches to build skills in, and also attach a larger outcome to our work. Eventually, we may find that some amazing opportunities will find us. But we need to take the first step.