Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Carrots, Sticks, and the Paradoxes of Motivation
Merlin Mann | Jul 28 2008
Shankar Vedantam discusses research on motivation which points to the schizophrenic role that rewards can play in our perception of a task.
Add the right incentive, and you can encourage better output; add the wrong incentive and you risk removing the natural motivation people feel to do something for the intrinsic value they get out of it.
One wild card I see in this deck is the role of leadership -- or better put: charisma. I've done ridiculous things for people I love and respect but can't be bothered to even feign attention for people who don't inspire me (it's why you don't want me as an employee unless you're crazy-smart). Something about a good leader motivates people to do things they never would have thought possible (even when it's not always in their best interest).
I also wonder about how this differs with personality types and class. I've known of some unbelievably wealthy people who have no financial need to ever work another day in their life. But, they're also some of the most motivated, productive, and sometimes, voraciously workaholic people I've ever heard of. Whether or not it's healthy or sustainable, something clearly drives them to keep building and growing.
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