You might guess that getting a reward like money or a good grade would really motivate us to do something good like learn Spanish or any other language.
But according to Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, that’s not how motivation works.
“Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money. [Or maybe grades—Ed.] That’s a mistake. . . . The secret to performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.”
Learn How to Motivate Yourself and Others
If you have ever found yourself less motivated to learn Spanish, French, or your favorite language than you wish you were, then you should read Drive. According to Daniel Pink, and a lot of careful scientific research that he cites, adding expected external motivators like money or grades often has the unexpected effect of reducing motivation.
For example, small children who like to draw will spend less time drawing if you start giving them certificates for drawing.
If you are a teacher who needs to motivate your students, or you just want to learn how to motivate yourself, you will probably enjoy Drive by Daniel Pink.