Dan Pink on why humans have not only a biological drive (we eat, drink, and have sex), and a second drive (we respond to reward and punishment), but a third drive:
We do things even when they don’t satisfy our biological urges, win us a reward or help us avoid a punishment. We play musical instruments during the weekend simply to master something challenging. We quit high-paying jobs to take new jobs that are less lucrative but more meaningful. Human beings, says University of Rochester psychologist Edward Deci, have an “inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise their capacities, to explore and to learn”. Few would deny that this third drive is also part of what it is to be human.
Pink suggests three factors based on the third drive that offer a better route to enduring motivation and accomplishment:
1. Management leads to compliance, but only self-direction leads to engagement
2. Mastery is its own reward
3. We are purpose maximisers, not just profit maximisers
Business, Pink points out, often stops at the second drive yet that’s a dated model rarely effective today. The goal, it seems, is to get to third.