Recent Reads: Drive – the surprising truth about what motivates us

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Daniel Pink

Non-Fiction

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Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others). In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose-and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action in a unique book that will change how we think and transform how we live.

This quick read was lent to me by someone I work with – actually someone I supervise.  (I’m just going to assume that she lent it to me because she knew that I love to read, am a life-long-learner, and that we share a mutual interest in psychology… and not that she thinks I’m a crap boss and need advice on how to motivate my team.)

For some reason, I didn’t quite latch on to Dan Pink’s writing style, but he presents a lot of valid points to reframe how we traditionally think about motivating others, which is basically systems rewards and punishments.  He challenges while such simple conditioning might work to influence routine tasks, it is actually a damaging perspective when it comes to finding motivation to do anything that requires complex thought, difficulty, or creativity.  We’re missing out on a huge component: intrinsic motivation.  Doing something for the inherent satisfaction of doing the activity itself.  Intrinsic motivation is running a marathon to explore the reaches of our physical form.  It’s creating art to express complex perspectives.  It’s volunteering time, because it serves a purpose greater than ourselves.

And yep, I am on board.  Lucky me, Dan wraps up his book with a “toolkit” of how to apply the psychology of intrinsic motivation to the real world – in personal life, at work, with kids.  So if you don’t want to read the whole thing, you can just jump straight to the back and quickly figure out “so how do I make this work for me?”  (Or, “so how do I not be a crap boss and better motivate my team.”)

Enjoy!

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2017 – The Year of the Rested

Stay rested, my friends.

Original Post: Richards, Carl. “Let 2017 Be The Year of Working Hard and Resting Hard.” The New York Times, 19 Dec 2016. 

Let 2017 Be the Year of Working Hard and Resting Hard.


I’m tired — really tired — and I’m tired of being tired. In fact, it feels like I’ve been tired ever since I read Andrew Grove’s book “Only the Paranoid Survive” a decade and a half ago.

That book was the beginning of a sea change in my thinking about work, business, hustling and survival itself — so much so that I’ve been working like a fanatic ever since.

Up at 5 in the morning? Tried it! Daily workouts? Yep. Paleo, bulletproof, gluten-free, cold showers? Check. Build a business, start a side hustle, dominate Twitter, Instagram and Facebook? Yeah, all that too! Make my family a priority? Of course. Serve in my community? Definitely.

For 5,478 days, I’ve been hitting repeat, and it’s killing me.

I know I’m not alone. The last 10 years have felt like the #CrushIt decade. Every time you turn around, somebody is crushing something. Gary Vaynerchuk wrote the book on it, and according to him, people “need to work harder. And faster. There’s really nothing else to it. I’m exhausted every day, but I’m making all sorts of things happen in my 18 hours.”

Carl’s Confession

The Sketch Guy, on resolving to rest more in 2017.

He added, “And I’m prioritizing what’s important and what’s not.”

So, there we have it. We can add “exhausted” to words like “cynical” and “busy” that we wear as badges of honor. As crazy as it all sounds, I have to admit to having believed it. A part of me in some dark corner of my mind whispers: “This is all true, Carl. If you don’t keep hustling, you’ll end up falling behind, and no one will listen to you. Ever. Again. Then, you’ll just be another failure, left to crawl under a rock, cold and alone to die!”

But since I’ve appointed myself King of Permission Granting, I hereby grant everyone the permission to declare the #CrushIt decade finished. January 2017 will be the official start of the “Work Hard, Rest Hard” decade. We are going to hustle, sure. But we’re also going to rest. In fact, we’re going to be as good at resting as we are at crushing things.

We’re going to become pros at turning off social media, getting great sleep, working less and living more.

We’re going to make being rested cool. We’re going to write about, share and celebrate people like Jason Fried, who switched his company to a four-day workweek during the summer. Then, when people ask how you’re doing, you can say, “Sit down. Let’s talk about it for a minute, because I have time for you, my friend.” At minimum, you should be able to answer, “Rested, and how are you?”

I know this sounds like crazy talk, but we can do it. Make it a priority to be human again — to work hard and to rest hard without buying into the idea that we’ll fail at life if we rest.

And please send me your stories of how you plan to make the switch to hello@beingcarl.com.