Daniel Pink & What Motivates Me

Earlier this week the Innovation team and I learned about motivation. We watched a Ted Talk’s video on Daniel Pink, a best selling author who has written five books about business, work, and management. In the video Mr. Pink talks about how people respond differently if they are offered a reward after completing a task or problem. To explain what he means he talks about the Candle Problem. To solve the Candle Problem Mr. Pink asked a group of people to attach the candle to a wall so that the wax doesn’t drip onto the table. Many people became confused from this but they all came up with different creative ideas. They used their right brain solving this problem instead of their left. Many people tried to thumbtack the candle to the wall. While, some people lit the match, melt the side of the candle, and tried to adhere it to the wall. The problem was that even though this experiment was created to sharpen thinking and accelerate creativity, it did just the opposite.

With another group, Sam Glucksberg tries this problem again. He gathered his participants and told them that he was going to time them to see how quickly the group can solve the problem. Timing them made the group struggle a bit and it took the group about three and half minutes longer. Mr. Pink believed that everybody who was not brained creative, or had conceptual kinds of abilities, were going to struggle.

To make this belief more valid, Mr. Pink described how Dan Ariely, one of the greatest economists of our time, made another group do this experiment. Mr. Ariely grabbed a group of MIT students and offered them for their performance, three levels of rewards: a small reward, a medium reward, and a large reward. The goal of this experiment was to see if the MIT students who usually use their left brain to think of statistics, graphs, and valid facts could use their right brains to think creatively and to solve a problem which forces you to think creatively. Mr. Ariely noticed that, as long as the task involved only mechanical skills, bonuses worked as they would be expected: the higher the pay, the better the performance. But once the tasks called for even rudimentary cognitive skill, a larger reward, led to ‘poorer performance.’

Mr. Pink concludes his speech by saying that, “If we really want high performance on those definitional tasks of the 21st century, the solution is not to do more of the wrong things, to entice people with a sweeter carrot or threaten them with a sharper stick. We need a whole new approach.” In my opinion, I agree with Mr. Pink and his theories. The task that we all should focus on is doing something, creating something, and or finishing something with our own motivation and our own desire to do it. We shouldn’t focus on the income but the outcome. We should be proud of ourselves after everything we complete and do even if it’s not correct. Doing something without looking for something to gain shows that we tried our best and we forced ourselves to be motivated and determined.

In Mr. Pink’s opinion, creativity and cognitive thinking motivates him. In my opinion, listening to music helps motivate me to complete tasks. Whether it’s to clean my room, or work on an assignment, any genre of music helps me think through my thoughts and stay focused on my assignments. Some of my favorite types of music that helps me stay in that ‘thinking zone’ are remix’s and dance music. While working on an essay or a short answer problem, I type or write to the beat of the music. I think everyone should atleast listen to music one while working on an assignment or a project because it truly helps. Another type of music that I use for studying is ‘study music.’ This type of music helps because it is simply sounds and nice and calm music that helps you think better, and clearer. Here is the Youtube video that I regularly use:

Another thing that motivates me is quotes. On social media apps and websites like Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr I follow many quote pages. These types of quotes help me think positively and are honestly just fun to read. I love reading other people’s quotes just as much as I love reading other people’s poems. I also connect to many quotes that I read and like, I end up taking screenshots of them on my phone. Right now I currently have one thousand photos on my icloud and the majority of them are quotes I’ve screenshotted or saved. Here are a few of them that I really love:

We do not know why we love a person; we love for no reason. One cannot love a man for his merits; and in this respect love is like grace which is given freely, no for merits, for nothing. Love is a gracious radiating energy. 
—  Nikolai Berdyaev, The Destiny of Man
Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and
becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.
—  Nisargadatta Maharaj




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