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Monday, March 21, 2011

What drives you?

Daniel Pink

If things seem a little quiet round here it’s because I am busy settling into my new apartment in Discovery Bay, Hong Kong, and there’s not much time for blogging. But here’s something I found today that is both profound, inspiring, and artistically impressive. It comes from Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind (a fascinating book in itself). Pink argues that the shakers and movers of tomorrow will not be the analytical, critical left-brained thinkers, but right-brained thinkers who are creative, imaginative, big picture people who are capable of synthesising information from disparate sources and fields. These are the meaning makers and pattern recognisers.

There’s a great little video of pink’s on YouTube. It’s one of those animated videos where an artist draws pictures in fast time as the narrator gives a voice over. What I like about that medium is that it engages the right brain. It is perfectly consistent with Pink’s essential arguments. The precise estimates vary, but there’s a saying that people remember 10 % of what they read, 20 % of what they hear, 50% of what they see, and most of what they do. It’s not quite as good as “doing”, but it certainly engages the viewer.

Pink has a new book called Drive, and it’s all about motivation. I haven’t read the book, but the video is, I suspect, a summary of his essential argument. People are not merely motivated by greater immediate reward (e.g. financial). Research indicates that merely rewarding people with more money for a job well done does not lead to optimal long-term performance (motivation). What really motivates people is when they have a greater purpose or meaning in their work, when they have a chance to master a skill, and to make a genuine contribution. In the video Pink cites the case of Steve Jobs, whose main driver has been “to put a ding in the world”. And I particularly like his quote from the founder of Skype, who said his prime goal has been “to be disruptive, but in the cause of making the world a better place.” 

I believe that futurists like me also have a duty to be disruptive, to challenge the status quo. I’ll write a little more about this tomorrow.

If you are a leader, employer or educator, what can you do to increase the motivation of your “team”? What greater purpose are you working towards. Or serving?

Sometimes it comes down to a sense of calling. In my own life and work as a futurist , writer and educator I have always followed the voice of my higher intuition, or Integrated Intelligence, as I call it. Indeed this is what I write about (mostly), and teach people in workshops and public talks. It is that sense of higher purpose which has driven me to keep going, regardless of the great personal cost, and the many setbacks. as has been noted, he who has enough 'why', can endure any "how".

What about you?


1 comment:

  1. My cells seem to jangle with a purpose. I don't even know what that is yet, but I just put one foot in front of the other, and trust that I am being led to a place of interest and purpose.