Passion and Motivation

I watched a very thought provoking video recently about what motivates people. The speaker cites multiple studies in which they assign people tasks and reward good performance to see if people really were logical beings that behaved accordingly to their economic benefit. What they found was that this was not always the case. It turns out that for mechanical tasks, incentivising good performance worked great, but for tasks that required conceptual, creative thinking, monetary rewards did not work.

According to the speaker, money IS a motivator; if people are not paid enough, they will not be motivated, but as stated previously, money does not lead to the best performance when it comes to creative tasks. Therefore, the best strategy would be to pay workers enough so that they do not need to worry about money. Moving beyond that, there are three factors that lead to better performance: autonomy, mastery and purpose. Autonomy is the freedom to do whatever you want. Mastery is the urge to get better at something. And purpose is the reason why you are doing what you are doing (hopefully a positive one).

I completely agree with this speaker. I have always strongly believed that money is not the right motivator (in the work place and in life). Deeper factors like autonomy, mastery and purpose are what people need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe there is an innate need for people to be creative and productive, to see self-improvement and self-actualization.

I am extremely interested in this aspect of the human psyche and what makes humans humans. This is one of the reasons why I ask people what their dream job is, that is, the job they would do for free. I would love to be able to bring out the human in people, turn us back from robots and into the creative and passionate beings we are!

My interest in this topic began in college when I studied political theory. Specifically, there was one text by Marx called “Alienated Labor” which sparked my curiosity. The text basically said that humans, under capitalism, are alienated from their labor because we are just working for money and not because we want to. Under capitalism, we work to live when we are supposed to live to work. He compared humans under capitalism to animals which do things to survive. When they build shelter, it is because they need somewhere to sleep. They need THIS, so they do THAT. But humans do things just because we want to! There is something innate in us that makes us different from other animals this way. He calls it our species being, this natural characteristic of just doing things because we want to (not a perfect analogy in my opinion). Under this species being, we are connected with our labor. We make something because we want to and therefore, it is connected with us. It is the fruit of our labor and we enjoy it afterwards.

My analysis of this text was basically a rewording of Marx's words. I believe what he meant to say was that humans are different from animals because we have passion. Passion is what separates us! It is what makes us unique. Ever since reading that text I have kept passion in such an important place in my life philosophy.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that we abolish capitalism. All I am saying is that I agree with the speaker's point that deep factors lead to motivation. The reason why I mentioned passion is because the presentation reminded me of it. In fact, passion and motivation are actually quite similar. Maybe the former is a deeper version of the latter, I do not know. I leave that thought till another day.

My Life Continues

A lot has happened in my life since the last time I wrote an entry. I decided to end my Cradle to Consumer project because I felt like it was not going anywhere. It was a sad decision to make, but ultimately I am sure it was for the best. Around the time I decided to end Cradle to Consumer, I came up with an idea for another project, a website to be exact. The purpose of this website is to be the central source for cradle to cradle related news and I am happy to say that I bought a custom domain for it yesterday.

I sent the link to a few people who work for McDonough and they all responded with positive comments. In fact, a project manager at MBDC asked me if I wanted to get on a conference call with them so that they could give me some feedback. As you can imagine, I was thrilled to receive this email and literally yelled out loud. After the thought of actually speaking with them sank in, I began to feel afraid because I did not know what they were going to say. It was very possible that their comments were going to be negative.

I am relieved to say that we had the conference call yesterday and that it was positive. Long story short, they thanked me for my ongoing support and told me that they liked the website. What is really amazing is that they also told me they would bring me into the formal loop so that I would get news before it was officially released. In general, I was happy about the conference call even though it made me feel unsatisfied with my life. Let me explain.

The conference call reminded me that I have not yet done anything great in my life. This bothers me tremendously. One of the main reasons why I have not done anything great is because people cannot see the potential within me. They want me to show them pieces of paper to prove to them that I am capable of doing something. Well I do not like the fact that I need pieces of paper; my passion and intelligence should be enough! I know that what I am saying is not very reasonable and yet I am still saying it.

I want to do great things now, I KNOW I can do great things now and I do not want to wait till tomorrow.

I would like to mention one other thing before I end this entry. My recent experiences have made me realize that things that seem purposeless in the beginning might not remain that way in the future and therefore, one should not hold oneself back from doing something just because one thinks it is pointless at that time. If I were to have had a different attitude than what I had when I decided to start my projects, I would not have started them and therefore, would most likely not have gotten into contact with the c2c people. Admittedly, my projects still have not brought about anything great, not to forget I just wrote about how I am unsatisfied with my life, but all that aside, I am closer to my dream because of them.