Drive, by Daniel H. Pink

The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Why buy a car that has no engine? It won't go anywhere...and neither does our current motivation system: Motivation 2.0

Why would anyone want to read a book on motivation? Why, for "motivation" of course! For the past 50+ years, society has created the worst ways to inspire people to do better, yet it's only been in recent years that we've started to make changes. You may ask yourselves, "Can it be really that hard to change the entirety of how we make people do what we want"?

For teachers, they've used points in the gradebook to help students in school; for businesses, the boss celebrates a deadline with drinks and a party, maybe extra pay, or a day (or two) off. But what if the rewards we think are what help move us to do good, are actually doing the opposite of our intent?

A Flow-Chart of: When to use Rewards

A theme found most often in Pink's groundbreaking novel, he loves to sit a little more heavily on the business and economical side of what will make people move, but occasionally comes to face the educational aspect of things. The flow-chart below is found on page 69 of Daniel's book, and is the backbone for being able to help visually show the way a task should be given. Teachers are known to do this a lot when wanting to create "busy work"; all it does is create a distraction for students, and missed opportunities for them to have deeper, higher-level thinking. If someones shown mastery of a task or concept, then, instead of moving forward, why do we have students stay right in place?
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“We’re born to be players, not pawns..."

"We’re meant to be autonomous individuals, not individual automatons. We’re designed to be Type I. But outside forces- including the very idea that we need to be “managed”- have conspired to change our default setting and turn us into Type X."

Found on page 107, this ideology, the concept that we are naturally curious and creative, is something easily found in young children. I mean, you remember drawing pictures that came from your mind, or playing "cops and imaginary robbers" with siblings, right? But as we grow up, we are taught that uniformity is whats expected, and that uniqueness is a virus, and one that we have to rid ourselves of in order to "fit in".

Imagine it like this: your boss tells you to come up with a "creative idea" to help fix a problem he's come across with new a marketing project. If you were his 5 year old child, this would be a breeze! But, sadly, your not; you are one of his many low-paid employee whose first name he will never know...

But I digress, and you can probably assume the stories ending: no idea, no bonus pay, back to working 9-5 in a tiny white cubicle office like most others. Yet that scenario can be applicable for any situation when describing how our perspective of "motivation" is gone to complete garbage. "...people like Pablo Picasso, Georgia O'Keefe, and Jackson Pollock unlike the rest of us, Motivation 2.0 was never their operating system. Nobody told them: 'You must paint this sort of picture. You must begin painting precisely at eight-thirty A.M. You must paint with the people we select to work with you. And you must paint this way’...Whether you're fixing sinks, ringing up groceries, selling cars, or writing a lesson plan, you and I need autonomy just as deeply as a great painter" (106, Pink).

I think this perfectly describes the way that I see motivation in my life, both as a high school student and adult in society. I can complete a task given to me (most of the time), but I complete the task on my terms and conditions. I am not the kind of person who likes to be boxed in with rules on what I can and cannot do. That irritates me (along with all of my teachers), and it makes things difficult at times. And thats why our society needs to upgrade to Motivation 2.1 (or even 3.0).

How to summarize the entire novel (from a quote in the beginning of the book)

Motivation 2.0 still serves some purposes well. It’s just deeply unreliable. Sometimes it works; many times it doesn’t. And understanding its defects will help determine which parts to keep and which to discard as we fashion an upgrade. The glitches fall into three broad categories. Our current operating system has become far less compatible with, and at times downright antagonistic to: how we organize what we do; how we think about what we do; and how we do what we do" (22, Pink).

In other words, we need to find everything that our current motivation is doing wrong, give it a long well-needed overhaul, and add what's been proven in recent years that works. Otherwise, students, teachers, parents, and even your future boss, will have no "drive", and nothing will become accomplished.

A question I may still have?

  1. What if school environments created a Fed-Ex day? For those of you who aren't aware, it is a day (mostly used by newer companies) in which employees are given 24 hours to create a new idea (that can be related to/outside their work), or solve a problem currently faced by the company. And at the end of that short shipping period (hence a "Fed-Ex day"), they must present their ideas to their peers. *If students were given such time, they could help create solutions to not only a project they might be struggling with, but also an antidote to a school problem (i.e. communication between teachers and students, new ways for school participation, etc.).