What Motivates Us? [Must Watch]
I teach Engineering Economics, which is essentially an introductory subject on infrastructure finance. One of the questions I routinely asked in this class was, “if you have unlimited amount of money and don’t have to worry about money, what would you do?”
The single most popular answer was: “I will travel”
Second most popular answer: “I will do charity work.”
I was once surprised by a student rebuttal to the second most popular answer, “You don’t need to have a lot of money to do charity work.” I told the class with a genuine acceptance of this notion, “How true!”
It is widely believed by many that self interest, which is mostly profit or $$ driven, motivates us. After all, that’s what Adam Smith, Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand told us. That would mean better the incentive, better the performance! Right?
Well, there is not evidence for that being the truth. In fact, RSA’s “Super Freakeconomics” study has proved that good-natured people do resort to cheating/stealing when conditions change. In this video, RSA proves that incentives do not correlate well with performance.
But the biggest surprise of this experiment is what motivates us. Surprise, surprise! It is not profit. [Hint: What motivates us? It is the same thing that motivates me to keep working hard for TORI, despite the fact that it is a money losing entity.]
Autonomy, Mastery and Engagement: These are the three things that motivate us.