There is a contingent of people out there who roll their eyes and assume that some women make certain birthing and mothering choices for some sort of medal or badge of honor -- or a new diamond ring, which in Beverly Hills they call a "push prize." Any of us who have given birth naturally or made other pregnancy and birth choices that are counter to the current culture know that extrinsic motivation has nothing to do with it. In fact, if you are interested in some cool facts about extrinsic versus intrinsic motivation, 40 years of studies have proven that a promise of rewards actually has a negative impact on results. What? Yes it's true--in cases that require any amount of creative problem solving.
Here's the experiment that has been repeated for 40 years now: Scientists gave a group of people a problem to solve and told them they would be timing them for norms. They gave another group the same problem and told them that they would be timing them and if they finished in the top 25% they would give them a substantial monetary reward. The group given an incentive took 3 1/2 minutes longer that other group. Sadly, this fact, though well known among social scientists is not widely known in business. If you want to watch a very interesting and entertaining talk on this by Dan Pink you can click here.
I tend to agree with social scientists and Dan Pink when it comes to business, skilled labor, and also pregnancy and birth. True success (whatever that means to you) is most frequently achieved with intrinsic motivation. Specifically, motivation that revolves around three ares:
Autonomy-- The urge to direct our own lives.
Mastery - The desire to be better and better at something that matters to us.
Purpose - Yearning to do what we do in service to something larger than ourselves.
I believe that behind all towards motivation is one of these three values, and I would like to see what readers think. How can you see these motivations at work in your life? Please comment and pass this post on if it is interesting to you.