Have to, Get to, or Want to: What Motivational Operating System Are You Using?

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In his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Dan Pink does a masterful job of illustrating the “motivational operating systems” of human society since the beginning of our time here on Earth. That’s not an overstatement striving to impress you. No hyperbole or some professional speaker stretching the story to make a point. Dan Pink’s book, as reviewed by the International Herald Tribune, The Miami Herald, and U.S. News & World Report, is a “thought-provoking,” “audacious and powerful” book that’s “right on the money.” And certainly, one you will want to read ASAP! Here’s why.

Dan Pink has dovetailed a science-based, research-infused case for rethinking the best way to motivate ourselves as well as others. When it comes to motivation, he exposes a gap between what science knows and what business and education does. Plus, he offers a series of vivid perspectives and valuable tools on how you can upgrade your current “motivational operating system.” Here’s one way to look at what he shares:

Motivational Operating Systems

In the words of Dan Pink: “These motivational operating systems, or sets of assumptions and protocols about how the world works and how humans behave, run beneath our laws, economic arrangements, and business practices. Motivation 1.0 presumed that humans were biological creatures, struggling for pure survival. Motivation 2.0 presumed that humans also responded to rewards and punishments in their environment. Motivation 3.0, the upgrade we now need, presumes that humans also have a third drive—to learn, to create, and to better the world.”

Motivation 2.0 is a more externally oriented motivational perception and very transactional. Do this, you get that! While Motivation 3.0 tends to be a more internally oriented motivational perception and much more transformational. Make the choice to improve yourself, your skills, your situation, and your world.

So, here’s an easy self-reflection exercise for you to try. Consider each of the different levels of thinking or feeling about the various things you do. List the things you “Have to do” or “Get to do” or “Want to do.” Consider how the higher you move up a motivational operating system version, the more self-motivated and committed you are to doing the things you listed.

Have to, get to, want to things you do

For further reading and to explore how you can develop the kind of self-motivation needed to intrinsically inspire the drive we need to “want to” work hard, get better and have fun with the things we do check out:

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: HarperPerennial.

Deci, E. L. (1995). Why We Do What We Do. New York: Grosset/Putnam.

Kick, F. (2006). Developing the Self-Motivation to KICK IT IN… when you’re tired of the carrot-and-stick approach! www.kickitin.com/developing-self-motivation/

Kohn, A. (1993). Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

Pink, D. (2009). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York: Riverhead Books/Penguin Group.

FRAN KICK works with corporate and educational organizations that want to develop better leadership and smarter followership for faster long-term results. Inspiring people to KICK IT IN® and TAKE THE LEAD since 1986 as a professional speaker, author, and consultant.

© Fran Kick. Used with permission. www.kickitin.com

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Fran Kick

FRAN KICK works with corporate and education organizations, groups, and associations that want to develop better leaders and smarter followers for faster long-term results. As an author, educational consultant, and professional speaker, he always shares relevant research, real-world insights, and actionable ideas YOU can implement to motivate yourself. So you can Kick It In and Take the Lead at work, in school, at home, and in life!