Motivate without money

This is thankless work, requiring high motivation. Daniel Pink has written a book called "Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us." Encouragement is really important, and he also identifies master, autonomy and purpose. I had to have all three to motivate me to do this thankless task.

I'm putting nets around Purple Loosestrife to grow beetles to kill other loosestrife.

I just read “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us” by Daniel Pink. I was so impressed by the book that I included some of his ideas  in the next edition of my book, “Raising Able: How to retire as the family servant,” about how childhood chores are a valuable teaching tool.

Pink says money is the LEAST motivating factor, even though it is the most commonly offered reward to influence the behavior of others.

Mastery, autonomy and purpose are the strongest motivators of people and primates, according to research, Pink reported.

Researchers were astounded to find monkeys puzzling over puzzles long after the rewards were consumed — for the sheer challenge of figuring out the puzzles.

It’s the same with motivating children, spouses, employees, co-workers and friends and neighbors. People want to work for mastery, autonomy and purpose. When people are given the freedom [autonomy] to do a job right [mastery], they can connect to the purpose behind the task, according to Pink.

So it is with children, who also like to contribute to the family good because it proves their family depends on them, they are important and they belong.

You’re asking, “Why the loosestrife photo?” It was a thankless job with several complex steps to grow a crop of beetles on it [hence the nets] that will reproduce. In six weeks, I’ll deliver the next crop of beetles from under the nets to a waterway clogged with loosestrife and I’ll have done my part to eliminate this invasive species.

What motivated me? Mastery — it was complex; autonomy — no one was making me do it; and purpose — I’m helping the environment. Now I need a glass of iced tea and an hour in the hammock.

Explore posts in the same categories: Alfred Adler, belonging, chores, Daniel Pink, Encouragement, give choices, How chores empower children, motivation, Raising Able: how chores cultivate capable confident young people

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4 Comments on “Motivate without money”

  1. casey w Says:

    Can you put your tags/categories at the bottom of posts? They distract me.

    I agree with Mr. Pink, though. Problems are interesting!

  2. Dennis Says:

    Hey Susan

    I loved Pink’s book. In order to raise healthy and functional kids, I agree, it is essential for them to get value other than money from work. We also have an education system that rarely teaches kids the value of intrinsic motivation. For all intents and purposes grades=money in the school environment. Learning just to love learning is a secondary consideration.


    • raisingable Says:

      Dennis- I agree- our educational system is all about grades & rewards, not learning for the love of learning.
      Up until about third grade, children in typical schools LOVE to learn.
      It’s all downhill from there.

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