Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Summary of “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”:  Drive is not just another book on motivation and management, but an innovative and mind-blowing work. Since the prehistoric era where survival was our main motivation, Taylorism has given prominence to the carrot and stick concept, which is still widely used today.

The author explains to us, with a lot of humor and supporting scientific evidence, why this model is now outdated. He gives us the 3 essential ingredients to obtain the magic formula for motivation every time and offers tools to take action in all areas of our life!

Note: This is a guest post written by Aude Bara from the blog “Un Cheval Dans Mon Pré” (“A Horse in My Meadow”), taking up the challenge of marrying two subjects which do not have much in common, “horse riding and personal development.”

Review and Summary of “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”:

The author describes a scientific experiment carried out by Harlow in 1949 on monkeys having to solve a puzzle and which made it possible to highlight a third type of motivation. Until then, biological (hunger, thirst, etc.) and external (reward, punishment) motivators were the only two recognized.

However, Harlow realizes that the success of the task; the pleasure of solving the puzzle is the intrinsic reward of the monkey. As a matter of fact; the introduction of an external reward as motivation led to more errors and less interest in solving the puzzle!

This experience is confirmed by Deci, 20 years later, with a group of students and 3D puzzles. The group to which an external reward is promised takes more time and loses interest in the game more quickly than the group to which nothing has been proposed…

Pink explains here how and why too many organizations (including in our schools) operate on the basis of faulty assumptions about their employees’ motivation, and ultimately take ineffective and counterproductive measures! The author then dissects the elements of this third type of motivation and suggests ways to use it in business, at home or for oneself.


Chapter 1: The Rise and Fall of Motivation 1.0

The Triumph of the Carrot and Stick

Pink likens motivation to a computer operating system; with System 1.0 being the most primitive version that enabled prehistoric man to survive. The sole purpose of this not exactly subtle system was to enable us to meet our vital needs; and to ensure the perpetuation of the species.

Since humans are more than the sum of their biological impulses, a more sophisticated system has emerged, Motivation 2.0. Continuing to take into account the initial biological motivation; it also assumes that we seek the rewards and avoid the punishments. Taylorism has given prominence to this system of motivation; by dividing up tasks and subjecting man to repetitive processes under the guise of the need to control man; considered by nature to be unreliable…

A slightly more evolved version, Motivation 2.1, was born under the impetus of Maslow and McGregor, who believe that the human being has other higher motivations. This will lead to more flexible hours and dress codes, as well as more autonomy and opportunities for progression.

Three Incompatibility Issues

However, our mode of operation always deviates more from Motivation 2.0:

  • At the organizational level, the example of opensource, from which Firefox and Linux, among others, have resulted, shows that in order to build a reputation, sharpen our skills and increase our value in the labor market, we are able to work and develop projects for free! A survey by Lakhani and Wolf shows that these collaborations bring the feeling of being creative, and a state of engagement and optimal success (Flow). Besides the challenge of solving the software problem, these people have the desire to offer a gift to the programming community.

New legal types of companies are emerging, such as low-profit limited liability companies (L3Cs) or social enterprises (For-benefit organizations), which prioritize long-term value and social impact, before economic profits.

  • Conceptually, Pink notes that our actions sometimes stem from bizarre behavior. We can spend hours trying to master a musical instrument, with very little hope of ever getting material benefit (Motivation 2.0) or meeting the ideal companion through it (Motivation 1.0)! Psychologist Kahneman, 2002 Nobel Prize winner in economics, underlines that “we do not always act according to a rational and selfish economic calculation, and everything does not always converge towards the maximization of wealth.”
  • Finally, the nature of the activities by themselves is no longer compatible with Motivation 2.0. The author demonstrates that although for an algorithmic task, the 2.0 system is effective, the latter seriously impairs the effectiveness in heuristic Algorithmic tasks consist of repeating the same sequence of instructions which always leads to the same result (see Taylorism), and according to Motivation 2.0, these tedious tasks require employees to be monitored to prevent them from shirking their obligations. Heuristic activities involve experimenting with different possibilities to determine a solution and are inherently more creative and less routine and challenge the assumptions on which Motivation 2.0 is based. However, the former represents only 30% of job growth in the United States, while the latter 70%! The some 18 million “non-employer” companies (sole proprietorships) in the United States are also proof that man can be autonomous and does not need supervision or external motivation.

Our way of organizing what we do, of conceiving it and of doing it is therefore no longer compatible with Motivation 2.0. And here is why…

Chapter 2: Seven Reasons Carrots and Sticks (Often) Don’t Work

Can a Reward Be Used to Get Everything You Want?

Pink assimilates Motivation 2.0 and its confrontation with the third type of motivation to the coming together of Newtonian physics and quantum physics. Motivation 2.0 should be able to predict the trajectory of human behavior; except that the carrot and stick sometimes end up being the exact opposite of what you want. Rewards and punishments can release negative behavior and give rise to “cheating, addiction and dangerously nearsightedness.”

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, teach us an important lesson in human motivation.

When Tom is faced with the dreary task of whitewashing Aunt Polly’s 810-square-foot fence, he’s not thrilled. When his friend Ben ambles by and mocks Tom. Tom [has a brilliant idea: he makes him believe that the possibility of] whitewashing a fence is in his eyes a privilege! The job is so captivating that when Ben asks to try a few brushstrokes himself, Tom refuses. He doesn’t relent until Ben gives up his apple in exchange for the opportunity. Soon more boys arrive, all of whom tumble into Tom’s trap and end up whitewashing — several times over — on his behalf.”

The moral of this story, according to Mark Twain, is “that work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.

The author calls it the Sawyer Effect, the fact that an interesting task can turn into boring work, under the influence of the external reward, killing the intrinsic motivation and the notions of performance, creativity and even distinction which can be attached to it.

A study carried out on kindergarten children by psychologists Lepper, Greene and Nisbett, shows that “by taking action to obtain a reward, the individual gives up some of his autonomy. (…) they no longer exercise full control over the course of their own existence. This is what can compromise their motivation and deprive the activity of its fun side.”

Deci, looking back over more than 30 years of experience on the subject, confirms that concrete rewards negatively influence intrinsic motivation. Researchers from the London School of Economics analyzed the results of performance pay systems of large companies and came to the conclusion that “financial incentives (…) can have a negative impact on overall performance”!

“Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible. Meaningful achievement depends on lifting one’s sights and pushing toward the horizon. ” – Quote from Daniel Pink, Drive

Gluksberg, psychologist, observes that rewards reduce the field of reflection (lack of perception of the ins and outs in particular) and obscure the thought process instead of clarifying it and stimulating creativity. Amabile, a researcher, observed that artists working on commission felt less free and showed less creativity.

Eventually, when the pleasure of the activity, its interest or the challenge it represents, or the fact that it absorbs the mind, are the source of motivation rather than pay, the artist is ultimately socially much more widely recognized and perceives those extrinsic rewards that they were not seeking.

An economist, Titmuss, investigated whether the financial incentive could increase blood donation. And he realized that it “distorts the altruistic act and drives out the intrinsic desire to do a good deed.” However, if the award is given to a social organization, then the donations increase.

The extrinsic reward limits action because it denies the elements of the true motivation of the being, which are autonomy, mastery over things and the purpose of what he/she does.

Flaws Caused by Rewards

The flaws of the carrot and stick approach are of 3 orders:

  • First, it can foster bad behavior:

Although the goals we set for ourselves are generally healthy, those imposed by others are not necessarily perceived as such. Of course, by reducing the field of reflection, they can allow better concentration. However, when the reward becomes the goal in itself, the shortest path to obtaining it can sometimes be preferred, even if it requires unethical behavior, increased risk-taking, or less cooperation. Drive illustrates this with infamous examples like Enron in business, or doped athletes. When the reward is the activity itself, no one tries to keep things simple or to run fast…

Pink wishes to point out that the extrinsic reward and the objectives are not corrupting by nature, but that they are more harmful than what Motivation 2.0 is willing to admit.

And the stick does not necessarily succeed in correcting inappropriate behavior! Gneezy and Rustichini observed the functioning of nurseries in Israel. A fine imposed on late parents had the opposite effect of that expected, it increased the number of days of tardiness. In this case, the sanction removed the moral obligation of parents to those who look after their children, reducing the service to a simple business transaction!

  • Second, the reward gives rise to addiction:

The pleasure of the reward is quickly dissipated and requires, to maintain the effect, ever stronger and more frequent doses. Svurov, a Russian economist observes that “if you pay your son to empty the garbage, you can be sure that he will never do it again for free, and the effect of the initial pay decreasing, you will be forced to increase the sum to perpetuate the same result.” Remarks confirmed by Knutson, researcher in neuroscience, who demonstrates, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), that “the brain reacts in the same way, whether we promise it monetary rewards or we give it cocaine, nicotine or amphetamine”! In addition, it does not encourage better decision-making!

  • Finally, the reward promotes short-term thinking at the expense of long-term thinking.

It prompts us to focus on what is immediately before us, and our thinking is reduced and less profound. For example, stock market companies focusing on their quarterly results have a lower long-term growth rate, among other things, because they invest less in research and development.

“The seven deadly flaws of the carrot and stick are therefore: They can

  1. Extinguish intrinsic motivation
  2. Diminish performance
  3. Crush creativity
  4. Crowd out good behavior
  5. Encourage cheating, shortcuts, and unethical behavior
  6. Become addictive
  7. Foster short-term thinking”

Chapter 3:…and the Special Circumstance When They Do

Pink makes sure to be transparent and honest with the reader; which is why he explicitly discusses the circumstances in which the rewards are effective. And the first precept in this matter is that the reward be fair and adequate. Without this, the reward will have a completely different effect ;-).

The first question to ask concerns the nature of the activity for which a reward is proposed: Is the task routine? According to Glucksberg, “if the task is not very interesting and does not require creative thinking, the reward can motivate the person without detrimental side effects.” Deci, Ryan and Koestner point out that in this case, there is hardly any intrinsic motivation to undermine…

An experiment carried out in India by Ariely confirms this analysis and specifies that as long as the task is purely mechanical; the greater the reward and the better the performance.

In fact, to use carrots successfully, you have to meet three criteria:

  • Justify the need for the (boring) taskby placing it in the global context.
  • Acknowledge that the task is boring, that is, show empathy towards those responsible for carrying it out.
  • Allow people to work in their own way: Clearly presenting them the objective to be achieved but not the method, to give them the autonomy essential to intrinsic motivation rather than controlling them.

Pink gives the example of a mass mailing of leaflets which must be carried out as quickly as possible, requiring the mobilization of staff during a weekend. According to him, using coercion would only undermine employee morale and sabotage their long-term involvement.

Looking for volunteers could be a solution, but their number may be limited! The conditional reward then constitutes the effective remedy; by promising a big party or by paying for the number of tracings sent, with an incentive price.

When the task is creative, as in the case of the artists observed by Amabile; if they work on commission, their creativity remains intact when the work is interesting or exciting; or when it allows them to be valued.

Drive presents the example of creating an advertising poster. Here, the basic reward must suffice, provided that it corresponds to the remuneration paid in similar organizations and for similar tasks.

The best method to motivate is through the creation of favorable working conditions: offering a pleasant workplace, empowering employees, giving them the opportunity to control processes, and making their daily obligations part of a more global objective.

Then, clearly explain the context of the work, and in particular its degrees of urgency and importance, and let them freely express their talents!

The use of extrinsic rewards is possible, but more subtle. For Pink, it is essential that it be unexpected and a posteriori (offered after the job is finished). Otherwise, employees risk focusing on obtaining the reward at the expense of the creativity necessary for the task at hand.

These rewards further stimulate the following tasks, especially if they are not repeated, otherwise they would become expected…

The author gives two other tips: consider nontangible rewards, such as compliments, and provide useful information to enhance the effort or the method, or even giving information on the results obtained thanks to this work.

Chapter 4: Type I and Type X

Human behavior is often described in a reductive way to the sharp reaction to a positive or negative stimulus, or even the calculation of our interest, or at worst, psychosexual conflicts!

The Self-Determination Theory (SDT) founded by researchers Deci and Ryan is based on the idea that human beings are motivated by psychological, universal, and innate needs: to be competent, to be autonomous and to maintain connections. If these needs are met, man is motivated, productive, and happy. But if by misfortune, they are thwarted, then man is displeased, and his motivation and his productivity are affected.

Our nature is based on our capacity for interest: Some things facilitate it while others undermine it. This is the third type of motivation.

However, the main mechanisms of Motivation 2.0 are not favorable to the emergence of this type of motivation. When the employees are not productive enough, too often the reward/sanction system is activated without going through the “dialogue” box which would make it possible to identify where the problem comes from. Yet, it is only by concentrating our efforts on creating the conditions favorable to these universal psychological needs that we will be productive!

“Human beings have an innate drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. When this drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer live,” says Pink.

SDT is an important part of a large recent school of thought on the human condition. Within this current, we find Seligman for whom resignation is an acquired behavior and not innate” and Csikszentmihalyi with his autotelic experiments and his notion of Flow.

The Power of the Alphabet

In the late 1950s, Friedman and Rosenman, cardiologists, associated cardiovascular disease with two types of behavior. Type A notably exhibited an excessive tendency to competitionaggressivenessimpatience, and an overwhelming urge to behave as if they were always in a hurry.

In the end, it is a vain and endless struggle against themselves in which they engage, but also against others, circumstances, time, and sometimes life! These people were at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, all other things being equal (physicality, sedentary lifestyle, eating habits, family history).

People of type B, on the other hand, lived their lives much more calmly, while being as intelligent and often as ambitious as the first category. The type B personality is stable, and their self-confidence sufficient to face life without the irritation and exasperation shown by type A. Thus, “to reduce the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease (…), just help people of type A to be more like people of type B.

Likewise, Mc Gregor, psychologist, defines the theories X and Y from his perception of the human psyche and his experience as a leader.

Theory X assumes that “the average person has an innate aversion to work and will do anything to avoid it if given the opportunity.

It gives prominence to the mediocrity of the masses and the impossibility of overcoming it. On the other hand, the followers of theory Y consider that the man can like his work as naturally as he likes to have fun or to rest. This theory is based on the frequent observation of the qualities of inventiveness and creativity among the population, and the fact that under favorable conditions, responsibilities are accepted and even desired!

This time, the possibilities are vast, both for the individual and for the company… And leaders just have to abandon theory X in favor of theory Y for companies to improve the way they work and become more profitable.

“Human beings have an innate inner will to be autonomous, self-determined and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives. ” – Quote from Daniel Pink, Drive

Type I and type X

Pink builds on these 2 examples to define types I and X. For him, the operating system 2.0 is based on the behavior of type X; that is to say the human being motivated by extrinsic means. On the contrary, Motivation 3.0 is related to type I behavior, one that is motivated more by intrinsic desires.

And so, “if we want to strengthen our organizations, get beyond underachievement, and address the sense that something’s gone wrong in our businesses, in our lives and in our world, we have to move from type X to type I”. I rest my case

Of course, in reality the behavior is not so clear cut. However, people with a type X tendency have external rewards as their main driving force. Even if they may enjoy their task, this for them is secondary.

For type I people, their motivations are based on freedom, the challenge, and the very purpose of the company. Obviously, they are not resistant to external rewards, but they will rather consider them as an additional advantage (if indeed they are used well, see Chap. 3).

Important point: Type I is acquired and not innate.

Indeed, these characteristics are not invariable personality traits, but tendencies acquired through experience and in particular circumstances. As a result, any person of type X can become of type I if, placed in a favorable context, the opportunity is given to them to develop fundamental practices and attitudes in connection with the universal needs of the Motivation 3.0 system.

History shows that Type I people are better equipped to succeed than Type X people. Even if they do not directly strive for success, the inner desire that drives them gets them through difficult times and helps them to make the necessary efforts. This inner flame is fueled by the need to stay in control of their own existenceto know more about the world around them, and to achieve something lasting.

However, type I needs fair remuneration, otherwise their motivation will decline like any type X employee. But above a certain threshold, money will no longer have the same effect, while type X makes it their priority and always wants more. Although they enjoy seeing their efforts recognized, Type I people do not make it an end in itself, while Type X people are always seeking credit.

Pink compares Type X to coal, and Type I to renewable solar energy!

For a long time inexpensive, easy to use and profitable, coal has harmful effects during its combustion, and its exploitation is becoming more and more difficult and expensive with time.

Type X people present the same drawbacks, the rewards inducing harmful side effects and their motivation becoming more and more expensive! For their part, type I people are an inexhaustible resource since they reinvent themselves and cause little damage…

Type I behavior is unquestionably a factor in physical and mental well-being. Self-esteem is fostered by the need for satisfied autonomy and intrinsic motivation. Their relationships with others are also better than X-types. Deci even observed that X-type people are generally less comfortable in public, more defensive, and more likely to exhibit type A behavior!

Finally, the type I person does not need external pressure to progress. Autonomy in the activity, mastery of the activity and identification with the goal pursued are their driving forces in life! This is not a new utopian theory because many scientific studies provide the evidence. Also, it’s up to us to see if we want to continue to vegetate in our old habits or take them into account and integrate Motivation 3.0 to build the world of tomorrow!


Chapter 5: Autonomy

The author discusses autonomy with numerous examples drawn from mainly American companies.

Ressler and Thompson, former HR executives of the Best Buy group, invented the concept of ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment). Employees have no fixed hours, they go to the office when they want, or even don’t need to; the important thing is that the job gets done. It is up to them to decide how, when, and where.

Gunther, CEO, tried the experiment for 3 months in one of his companies, Meddius. Out of 22 employees, only 2 failed to adapt and left the company. For the others, productivity increased while their stress decreased. Gunther therefore decided to ultimately opt for this environment where employees always have goals to reach in terms of sales volume or deadlines for projects but choose their schedules.

Thus, the basic conditions are met: good pay and employees have the opportunity to take care of their families (for example, by being available for their son’s football game on Friday afternoon)! For Gunther, “management is not about going around the offices to check that people are there!”. He sees employees as partners, not resources. And a partner needs to lead his own life…

Are Employees Players or Pawns?

Let us remember that management is not “natural”, it is an invention of man, “a technology” as Hamel, a strategy advisor, refers to it. Yet it is based on the assumptions that the people to be managed need a stimulus to act and move forward (in the absence of carrots and sticks, people would remain inert and would enjoy doing nothing) and that from the moment they become active, they need to be guided otherwise they will go astray!

“Is this really our nature,” asks Pink. Are we doomed to passivity and inertia? The answer lies in observing the behavior of a 6-month-old baby. We are naturally inclined to be curious and independent!

Action and engagement is our default setting, to use Pink’s cherished computer language. And if at 15 or 40 years of age we are inert; it is because a parameter has come to modify this setting. The author evokes the possibility that management (whose philosophy goes far beyond the professional sphere); is one of the forces which have disrupted this state!

Economic success in a world like ours can no longer be based on controlling people, which amounts to inhibiting them, their behavior then being a function of pressure and demands external to themselves. Autonomy is acting by making choices in the sense of interdependence.

The effects on the performance and attitude of the person are beneficial: better academic results; better understanding of concepts, greater perseverance in class and in sports; fewer failures, feeling of psychological well-being, etc. Unfortunately, in the minds of executives; it is often confused with independence or individualism; where it is a question of relying on no one other than oneself.

Incidentally, Pink notes that flexible hours are not about employee empowerment, but simply a slightly more civilized form of control!

“The monkeys solved the puzzle simply because they found it gratifying to solve puzzles. They enjoyed it. The joy of the task was the reward. ” – Quote from Daniel Pink, Drive

The Four Essential Conditions for Autonomy

Another example of putting autonomy into practice is that of software designer Cannon-Brooks; who introduced the “special creativity day” to his Atlassian company. As a result, employees devote a day to a problem of their choice even if; it is outside their usual field of activity. Once a quarter, 24 hours are devoted to problem solving, always outside their field, to break the routine!

These days have been called FedEx Days, because you have to deliver something in 24 hours! The CEO concludes that type I behavior develops when employees gain autonomy in 4 areas:

  • What they do
  • When they do it
  • How they do it
  • Whom they do it with

A pioneer, the company 3M launched in the 1950s under the leadership of McKnight, moments of “experimental doodling.” Technical staff spent 15% of their time on projects of their choice. The Post-It was born on this occasion, among others! For McKnight “if these men and women to whom we delegate authority and responsibility are competent people, they will want to do their jobs in their own way.

Google has taken up this concept:

1 day per week is devoted to improving existing products or creating others (without claiming intellectual property). More than half of innovations, including Gmail, came from these creative periods!

In terms of call centers, the time is also for autonomy, like that of the Zappos company. No work time control, no scripting. Employees are free to answer calls however they want; it’s up to them to decide how to better serve customers!

Results: a very well-rated customer service, and little staff turnover while the turnover is close to 100% in some call centers…The practice of homeshoring, or the distribution of calls to employees’ homes, allows call center agents to feel even more free of their choices and to take ownership of the requests they handle.

Finally, research shows that people who have participated in the formation of their work team have more satisfaction than others. At Gore & Associates, anyone who wants to lead a team brings together the employees who will want to work with him or her. Whole Foods has executives recruited by their future subordinates, with a vote after a one-month trial period!

The Art of Autonomy

Pink, always full of humor, takes the example of great painters like Pablo Picasso… No one has ever told them “You are going to paint such and such a picture; you will do it every morning at 8:30 am sharp. You will have to paint with the collaborators we have chosen to work with you. And you will have to paint according to the following technique…” Does the idea sound crazy to you? If it is for artists, it is for you too!

Note from Olivier: However, Picasso must have learned how to paint, first with his father, then at the Llotja painting school… So, if he was indeed free when he created his paintings, someone said something similar to him, probably many times, when he learned to paint! It is part of the learning process to learn first by a proven method. Only then, for the most gifted, will it be possible to break free from this method and go beyond the teacher to create your own style.

The difficulty lies in the fact that not everyone places the same importance on different aspects of autonomy. It is up to each executive to find out what is important in the eyes of each of his employees! One certainty for Pink: “however individual desires are expressed on the surface, they grow from common roots.  We are born to be players and not pawns.”

Chapter 6: Mastery

How to move from compliance to engagement?

Exercising control over someone results in compliance, while leaving autonomy to that person will lead to engagement and therefore mastery. The Gallup Institute noted during a survey that more than 50% of American employees are not engaged in their work…

In private life, the observation is identical: compliance to orders and rules is an effective strategy for physical survival; but it does nothing in terms of personal development! As Pink says so well: “There is more to living a life worthy of the name than just satisfying those who have control over you.” And yet, in our offices and classrooms, compliance remains the rule!

Csikszentmihalyi studied play and noticed that in playing we have autotelic experiences: the means is the end. The objectives are clear and the reward immediate. In addition, the relationship between what we have to do and what we can do is perfect. And if we take a few more small steps beyond our usual capacities, the effort itself is the reward!

Observing artists, he notices that they are practically in a trance, so caught up in what they are doing, they no longer see the time passing and their self-awareness is erased. It is the mental state of Flow, in which the present moment is experienced intensely.

Tasks Should be Ideally Balanced

At Ericsson, the Swedish telecommunications giant, the reorganization of work has been done in favor of clear objectives and rapid feedback. Green Cargo and That game company strive to offer ideally balanced tasks: problems to be solved that are neither too easy nor too difficult. Indeed, the all too frequent gap between what we must do and what we can do, is a common source of frustration, and consequently of boredom or anxiety.

Finally, Wrzesniewski and Dutton, professors in the Faculty of Management, observed employees who could themselves introduce a little Flow into their often-off-putting activities. So, instead of doing only the minimum required, people in charge of cleaning in a hospital also devoted themselves to making conversation with the patients or helping the nurses. In the end, they obtained greater satisfaction and a better image of their work.

The Three Laws of Mastery

Flow, essential for mastery, is however temporally distant from it. It is experienced in the moment, while mastery is only acquired gradually and over time. So how do you combine the two?

Mastery is a mindset, because as Carol Dweck, professor of psychology says, “what people believe determines what they do.” For Dweck, two possibilities: either intelligence is considered as a defined and fixed quantity (entity theory), or intelligence can grow (incremental theory).

Two types of objectives follow: performance for the first and learning for the second. In the first case, which is similar to type X; the effort is a sign of weakness and working hard is foolish! No acquisition of mastery is possible! On the other hand, for type I, the effort is a means of progressing usefully. Their logic is that of learning; they are not there to prove their intelligence and consider failure as a beacon on the way…

Mastery is a pain, born out of persistence and a passion for long-term goals. This is what emerges from the study of the factors of success at West Point, American military academy. It is a difficult path which requires effort, difficulty, exertion, and energy over a prolonged period.

Pink explains that “if people are aware of what enables them to achieve the state of Flow, they will have a clearer idea of what they should spend their time and energy on mastering.” Of course, the progression is irregular, and the moments of Flow alternate with the periods of stagnation. Deck concludes by explaining that “effort is part of what makes life meaningful.” We are willing to work hard for what matters to us.

Last law, mastery is an asymptote: We will get closer to it over the course of our efforts, but we will never be able to reach it! According to the author, “mastery attracts us precisely because it escapes us.” There too “the joy is in the pursuit more than the realization.”

The Oxygen of the Soul

Generalized anxiety disorder affects about 3% of the adult population; and the presence of 3 of the following 6 symptoms is a warning not to be ignored:

  • Restlessness or nervousness
  • Fatigability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disorders

However, in the 70s, Csikszentmihalyi conducted an experiment of depriving some volunteers of their moments of Flow; previously identified by each in their daily life. The deterioration in their morale was such after 48 hours that it was useless to continue the experiment! Flow is therefore not a luxury but a necessity! And the work presents, in principle, structurally the conditions to reach this state: clear objective, immediate return, ideally balanced tasks, etc.

I particularly like Csikszentmihalyi’s words: There is no reason to believe any longer that only irrelevant ‘play’ can be enjoyed, while the serious business of life must be borne of a burdensome cross. Once we realize that the boundaries between work and play is artificial, we can take matters in hand and begin the difficult task of making life more livable.

Taking the example of the child, Pink explains that he spends his time from one flow moment to another, open to joy as well as to effort, using body and brain to experiment and learn. He is in constant search of mastery. Why did he end up stopping this research? “We start to become ashamed of doing something childish,” concludes Csikszentmihalyi!

Chapter 7: Purpose

When the cold front of demographics meets the warm front of unrealized dreams, the result will be a thunderstorm of purpose the likes of which the world has never seen,” predicts Pink in the face of the baby boomer retirement wave, and the old vision of management that they experienced!

The Purpose Motive

The human being is a seeker of meaning. Csikszentmihalyi even adds that “purpose provides energy for living, (…) [and that] natural selection must have taken place for the benefit of individuals engaged in an activity which carried them beyond themselves.”

Hamel, a specialist in strategy, explains the surge in volunteer work by the fact that it allows people to obtain something that their paid work does not give them. It just goes to show that motivation for profit is not always enough!

TOMS Shoes is a good example of this, so much so that it defines itself as “a trading company based on donation.” It gives a pair of shoes to a child in a developing country for every pair purchased. The increase (more than double) in the number of cooperative members is also an unmistakable sign.

The time has come for the development of a new type of businessmen; who fervently seek to give meaning to their activity; just as their ancestors sought to maximize profits. And it is not a question of doing the “socially responsible thing” of a few years ago; where the profit was tainted by perhaps questionable ethics.

Harvard students, following corporate abuses and repeated economic crises, invented the “MBA oath”; a commitment to serve the common good and create prosperity in the economic world; but also in the social and environmental world!

Hamel, again, believes that entrepreneurs of all kinds must imbue their activity “with deeper and more soul-stirring ideals.”

Many psychologists and economists have noticed that above a certain threshold of remuneration (very modest); a higher income does not imply a higher level of satisfaction. Sociology and psychology researchers Dunn and Norton shed valuable insight: “How people spend their money may well matter at least as much as how much they earn.” Consequently, they propose that companies allocate a sum to each employee; up to them to choose which charitable association to donate it!

Another concrete example: Doctors who are given the opportunity, one day a week; to devote themselves to what matters most to them in their work; are less physically and emotionally exhausted than their colleagues who do not have this privilege.

The Good Life

Researchers Deci, Ryan and Niemec followed students during and after their time at the University of Rochester. On the one hand, those who had final goals and felt they were achieving them felt greater satisfaction and well-being than they experienced during their studies, and depression and anxiety were rare.

On the other hand, those who had profit goals and reported achieving them; had a sense of satisfaction and well-being equal to that observed during their studies; and were more prone to depression and anxiety.

Deci adds “even when we get what we want, it’s not always what we need. ”And Pink to add “By not understanding that to be satisfied, you not only have to have goals but also have the right goals, you risk ending up in a self-destructive cycle.

For the author, science has shown that being brilliant is not obtained with carrots or sticks, but thanks to a deep desire that drives us, that of directing our own life, of improving and diversifying our capacities, and to give a meaning to all this, a meaning which resonates in us and which is part of a greater and more permanent realization than ourselves!

However, it will not be easy to change mentalities, to unlearn what has long been erected as truths. Fortunately, Motivation 3.0 has been scientifically proven ;-), which considerably increases its chances of seeing the light of day?! Pink assures us that the affirmation of our humanity is at stake…


Just for this toolkit, you should buy the book Drive!

Apply Type I for Yourself: Nine Ways to Boost Your Motivation

Pink delivers precious tools, essential to implement before trying anything else in your family or professional environment!

They are real personal development tools, useful especially for those who have questions about their life. From the Flow test, which enables you to determine the activities that put you in this mental state and identify your real sources of intrinsic motivation, to taking a sabbatical year to recharge your batteries and renew yourself, a whole range of little games and big questions (news) will help you to take stock and progress on the path of autonomy, mastery and purpose!

“The goals people set for themselves that are devoted to self-control are generally healthy. But goals imposed by others – like sales goals, quarterly returns, standardized test results, etc. – can sometimes have dangerous side effects. ” – Quote from Daniel Pink, Drive

Apply Type I to Your Organization: Nine Ways to Improve Your Company, Administration, or Team

Ideas, in some parts already cited in Drive, to move your business in the direction of Motivation 3.0; whether you are an employee or CEO.

The Reich test can be fun since it involves observing which pronoun employees use to talk about their company. “They” and “them” denote a lack of engagement, “us” shows the opposite; easy to gauge the pulse of your employees!

The creation ofFedEx” days is another proposal, less easy to implement as an employee!

Now it’s your turn!

Disregard Compensation: Pay People the Type I Way

The author develops the 3 basic principles to apply in your business, so that money is no longer a problem:

  1. Ensure internal and external fairness
  2. Pay more than average
  3. If you are evaluating performance, use broad metrics that are relevant and hard to cheat

Here again, there is much to think about and to shake up habits!

Apply type I with Your Children: Nine Ideas to Motivate Them Differently

What if we could manage not to extinguish this relentless search for Flow moments in our children?

Pink focuses his remarks around the education of our little darlings and invites us to ask ourselves questions about school homework; to offer self-assessment or FedEx days, not to combine allowance money and household chores; in short to consider our family as an organization where Motivation 3.0 obviously has its place.

priority if we want to change the world of work of tomorrow? And a meaningful action

The author also reviews different school systems. In France, we mainly find Montessori schools and some more local initiatives such as the Living School or the Lycée Autogéré de Paris.

Type I Bibliography: 15 Essential Books

A review of books translated into French (or not), for all those who want to take it further.

A revelation about human nature and life!

Conclusion of Aude Bara from the blog “Un cheval Dans Mon Pré” on Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us:

I read Drive very quickly, because I was captivated by the topic and Daniel Pink’s way of addressing it.

I really enjoyed reading it over and over to write this review. It is really very good, full of concrete examples and humor!

It greatly resonated with me. The author finally puts into words what I had been feeling for years in my work without being able to articulate it. Namely that human nature is not passive and inert as many executives think! It seemed so clear to me that the carrots and sticks were not a solution; that I often sounded like a “hippie” or idealist…to my superiors.

And then, I battled myself for 12 years, telling myself that I had to grin and bear it; whether it was this job or another, it would be the same! But no, the concept of Flow is the second element that spoke to me a lot. In fact, I was able to look back in retrospect and notice that these experiences were rare in my work!

Subconsciously, Drive helped/empowered me to make the decision to quit my job and take a leave of absence from the public service (the famous gap year proposed by Pink!) to reflect and start experimenting with other things, then devote myself to what I really like (thanks in particular to his description of “intrinsic gratifying experiences”): blogging, weaving, sculpting, learning, sharing, etc.

The strength of the author is to succeed in gently tickling our minds; as through the joke about the work of Pablo Picasso. I think that every reader will find something for him/herself in Driveseeing their life differently, professionally or personally; initiating changesunderstanding others, etc. There’s really something for everyone! Moreover, it is a total rethink of management. So, even if you do not agree, you will inevitably be asking yourself questions!

Drive will change the way you look at things

Strong points

  • Driveis a quick read and concise book
  • Many examples from all walks of life
  • Richly documented
  • A lot of humor
  • Concrete tools

Weak points

  • After several readings, no, I still can’t find any!

My rating : drive motivation drive motivation drive motivationdrive motivationdrive motivationdrive motivationdrive motivationdrive motivationdrive motivation

Have you read “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”? How do you rate it?

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