Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dan Pink’s Drive

If you haven’t seen this video before, take 11 minutes and watch it now. Seriously. I’ll wait.

So I just finished a two day training on these concepts and, while it’s meant to address employees’ engagement and motivation, I think it holds true for our personal lives and the drive we have to live fully.

Think about it: what’s something that you do because you absolutely love doing it? Odds are there are three big contributors to what makes that fun and wonderful for you: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.

Let’s take one of my favorite things to do – hiking. Part of the reason I love it is because I have autonomy over it – I can do it whenever I want (more or less) and there’s nobody breathing down my neck telling me how exactly to do it. Another part of the reason I love it is because I can get better at it. I can hike longer, higher, farther. I can get more present while I hike and get “in the zone” with it. And I see progress as I go along – the views at the top of a mountain, for example, make me feel like I have mastered something (even if it’s just my legs). And thirdly, hiking contributes to my sense of purpose – living more fully. It takes care of my body and mind (so I can help others take care of theirs). It connects me to myself and to whatever friends I hike with. It gets me out of self-doubt, and it’s fun.

Now think about something you don’t love to do. If you’re like me, it’s something like doing the dishes. You can use these same concepts to help yourself motivate through tasks you need to do but aren’t particularly jazzed about.

Dish-doing autonomy: I can decide when I want to do the dishes, what kind of soap to use, how hot the water is, and how long I let them pile up before doing them. This is way better than having a roommate pestering me about the stack of baked-on-caked-on-greasy-dirt-encrusted cookware.

Dish-doing mastery: In truth, I don’t care about getting better at doing dishes, but I do care that they’re done well. So I can focus my energy on making sure they’re socially acceptable. I can also use the time it takes to do dishes to get better at something else – maybe by listening to a podcast or news report, or by focusing my mind on the task at hand.

Dish-doing purpose: If I tie doing my dishes back to purpose, they become much easier to do. I do my dishes so I can take care of myself so I can help take care of others. Then dish-doing becomes a gift I give myself instead of a punishment I inflict on myself. I do my dishes so I can be a responsible adult. I do my dishes so my home reflects the way I feel about myself. Think about it like explaining why you do the dishes to a young person. This can help the young person in you connect more fully to the task at hand.

More neat insights to come, but I wanted to introduce you to Dan Pink and these concepts before, say, another month accidentally passes without me writing anything…

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