Drive Essay

3545 words - 15 pages

Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us, by Daniel H. Pink, is a riveting book that discusses the evolution of what motivates us as humans and how our view on motivation is slowly changing to meet the needs of our society. The introduction opens with a story of an experiment on what motivates us conducted on rhesus monkeys by Harry F. Harlow in 1949, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin (P. 07), and later picked up again by Edward Deci, a psychology graduate student from Carnegie Mellon University in 1969, who performed a similar experiment with two groups of college students (P. 11). In this experiment, these men looked at the differences in motivation by observing the effects of extrinsic rewards on the human psyche and collecting data on the results of some simple tests. The results were astonishing, contrary to all previous beliefs, both the humans and primates showed that after receiving extrinsic rewards their motivation to complete tasks dropped drastically. It was determined that for simple and repetitive tasks, extrinsic motivation techniques, such as the carrot and stick method, can work well; but for complex tasks requiring creativity, extrinsic motivation can have a negative outcome on the success of ones work.
Over the course of human civilization, we have transcended through at least two full stages of what drives our motivation. Originally, in motivation 1.0 (P. 30), our behavior was simple, what motivated us was the pursuit of food, shelter, and the desire to reproduce. This platform of motivation or human operating system was simple and worked effectively until the population of humanity grew so large that it became imperative for humans to interact with one another and work together in order to accomplish the tasks needed to survive. This transition brought about the introduction of the operating system Motivation 2.0 (P. 31), which at its core represented the fact that humans were no longer driven purely by their biological urges but also responded to incentives and punishment relatively well. It was the ideals of motivation 2.0 that helped construct our nation, leading through the industrial and beginning of the technological revolutions; all while creating one of the greatest economies this world has ever seen. Today, however, motivation 2.0 has become unreliable due to the ever-growing technological advances in our society. Currently, motivation 2.0 is failing to fulfill our needs as a collective society. We as humans are not computer–like robots who make decisions based on maximizing profit, more often, we prefer to be challenged with new and complex tasks which require intrinsic motivation. Performing tasks such as this allow us to become purpose maximizers, who are motivated by accomplishing a task and reveling in the success of our own hard work rather than the short–term gratification of an external reward. This phenomenon has changed the way we work in jobs and how companies are...

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