Why You’re Struggling to Motivate People. And How to Improve.

You’re Likely Focusing on the Wrong Things.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

“Many of the factors that we think will cause motivation, such as fair pay and a good manager, won’t make you love your job. Even if you eliminate what makes you dissatisfied, that doesn’t make you motivated. It doesn’t make your work rewarding. You just are less bothered by things.”

The key is figuring out what actions motivate people — and which ones just bring entitlement.

How Do I Get My Daughter to do Her Chores?

A few years ago, my daughter reached that age where she could start doing chores around the house and earning an allowance. Nothing crazy — making her bed, setting the table, cleaning up each night, that kind of stuff. But it gave us a source of cheap labor and she got some experience with earning and saving money.

Can You Pay People to be Motivated?

If an employee isn’t doing his job, and I give them a metaphorical kick in the ass to get them moving, have I motivated them?

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”

Some people are lazy. Incentives and punishments won’t turn a lazy worker into a hard worker. But you can use them to create an environment where hard workers will thrive and lazy workers will leave.

So What Does Motivate People?

“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state,” wrote Viktor Frankl in The Will to Meaning, “but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task.” Frankl, upon surviving the horrors of a concentration camp, recognized that we create our own motivation. It’s an intrinsic property, not something that someone else can provide for us. Each of us gets to decide our own purpose in life and then motivate ourselves in pursuit of it.

  • Relatedness: the feeling of connection to others.
  • Autonomy: the feeling that you can control your own decisions.

Enemy of the Status Quo.

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