Motivation is not directly proportionate to cause and effect.
It’s a belief that is evident since the early industrial period of work. This idea that the higher the pay equals the better the performance.
This is not the right way of thinking. Humans are complex creatures, with thought patterns like creative ideas that do not come out simply because we want it to.
We’ve got technological aid to make basic jobs infinitely easier: like organizational apps or calendar reminders. But none of these are actually creativity enhancers or motivational boosters. That is the crux of this argument.
The first thought you’d come up with the topic is: Of course I want good pay! Incentives and rewards do its job boosting your motivation levels. Simply put, it is not a wrong process, and in fact, it could get the job done.
But the thing is, it’s damaging to yourself.
Not what you expected?
Well first, being attracted to immediate rewards could only get you concentrated on the immediate task. For simple mechanical work? Yes, it works. No need to think, only following the instructions that are given.
But for bigger, complex tasks, ones that do not have instructions and require a lot more thinking initiative done, then there would be a drastic effect on your performance.
One, you’d be too preoccupied at a future reward to concentrate on the task now. Two, you’d be concentrating on how to quickly get the job done and not necessarily the best way to deal with it. Three, this creates a short term relief, without really thinking of future consequences. In this particular order, you’d see the reward is not as it first seems: it is a burden you would carry throughout the task you’ve done.
And this had been the ongoing philosophy of business and economics until now. How effective has it truly proven itself to be?
Instead of staying loyal to a faulty rigid system, there is another way to understand how motivation works. This brings out the best performance we can hope to achieve.
To start with, here are the 3 things you’ll have to remember to be motivated:
We like to be in charge of our own lives. Opposite to its context is becoming extremely dependent on the systems and ways of other organizations. It is voluntarily surrendering initiative for the principles of another. This act of conforming would ultimately stifle our creativity. The in-depth assessment of this concept is: things can become more meaningful when we’re the ones making the decisions. We can practice both independence and accountability for our own decisions. Our possible actions are based on what we truly desire. Being the driver of our lives creates more opportunities in close association with what makes us ‘us’ instead of simply following other’s instructions.
We also strive to complete mastery. How many people have fallen into a passion, not because of monetary value or marketable skill set? We are natural learners. And we have a desire to get better at what we’re good at. This passion has driven us beyond the first starting point of who they originally were. It brings a growth that continues to progress; a culmination of experiences that could boost you with pride or fuel you to keep that momentum moving. This is stemmed from our raw desire to be better at what we do or who we are and continuously incentivize us with more permanent results than monetary values.
To balance out the first two concepts, a specific purpose would be necessary. This defies all notions of traditional ‘performance equates to rewards’, because a purpose would entail a greater task than at hand. Yet we also perform best when we embrace it. We work better when we believe we are a part of a bigger and better movement. This comes with the acceptance that we can be a contributing factor like an acting catalyst. It’s an intrinsic combination of directing yourself on doing something you love, getting good at it and ultimately leading us to excitedly getting the job done. That is when we become purpose maximizers.
Motivation is a slow steady process, contrary to the ‘instant gratification’ granted by our rewards system. But with this slow start comes a deeper and meaningful change that can surely benefit our lives.