I have just started reading Daniel Pink’s novel Drive. Although the book is focused on motivation, it was the introduction that caught my attention. In it, Pink stated that the value of intrinsic rewards far outweigh those of extrinsic motivators. As many of us are driven by capitalism and the cost of living, we have little choice but to recognize that external motivators are captivating. What we fail to realize however is that internal goals are much different. We want to be appreciated, acknowledged, and valued. Unfortunately both our perception and our attitude is driven by what we own, the titles we adone, and the wealth and power behind these values. Notwithstanding, these are achievements in their own rigbt after many years of hard work and a result of a focus on personal skill development and business savvy.
I have been doing some research into poverty in communities recently and through dialogue with individuals and their experiences I have recognized a few things. First of all, individuals who live in poverty have every bit of an intrinsic desire to succeed and find achievement. Unfortunately due to many unforeseen and often uncontrollable events in their life, motivation holds little value. Motivation in their life comes from the desire to survive. They live their life with very little hope for external motivation but when it arrives, it comes in the form of natural supports, encouragement, and the value that developing resiliency can bring.
As we reflect on what motivates us: the desire to be successful, the need to be acknowledged, or the safety of equity, I think that intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are not the motivator. I think the motivator is to navigate barriers in our life that prevent us from achieving a quality of life. Without the life skills of resiliency, passion, and dedication, rewards can be meaningless. What do you think?
Pink, D. H. (2009). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. New York, NY: Riverhood Books.