5 Reasons Why We Do What We Do: Trying to figure out what makes people tick
Monday on the Andy Griffin Show, Jack Lancaster and I talked about motivation, specifically what makes people tick.
Here are the main motivators that we came up with:
1. Money -- This one is deceptive because money seeps into almost everything we do. Want to make the boss happy? To what end -- to get a promotion or raise. Want to make your spouse happy? "Hey dear, I got this for half price." Want to make your kids happy. Hand them 20 bucks. Money might be the root of all evil, as someone once famously said, but is also the root of (almost) all motivation.
2. Inner drive -- Money can affect this one, but it's so much more than that. Inner drive is the idea, as Jack said, that "I can always be better, learn more." Inner drive can actually have many motivating factors behind it, but there is something special about someone who just wants to get better and learn more.
3. Praise -- This is the early motivator for children. Every kid wants to hear, "I'm proud of you," or "Way to go." The thing is, some of us never really outgrow this motivator. Actually most of us don't. My Mom passed away a couple of years ago, and I'd give anything to hear her say she was proud of me one more time. Praise from a boss, spouse or even our kids and grandkids can go a long toward getting us to try harder or do better.
4. Pride -- Closely tied into the "Praise" motivation, Pride has to do with wanting to do something great for the sake of doing something great. Of course money and inner drive also factor in here, but Pride in a job well done can be a huge factor in and of itself. Most real artists don't create something to receive praise or sell the piece of art for a lot of money. Rather, they do it because there is something great inside of them that they want to create on the outside. To them, it doesn't much matter what the rest of the world thinks.
5. To be the best -- This motivation often comes after several of the others, sometimes before. But make no mistake, it is a strong motivator. I started off in radio wanting to be the best. I knew I would never be the best football player, or the best post player in basketball, or the best racquetballer. I tried, got pretty good at those, but came to the realization that I was never going to reach the top or even come close. But broadcasting and writing came naturally to me. I knew if I developed those talents, I had the opportunity to be the best. If not in the world, at least in my world. Of course, I now know that "the best" is mostly a fictitious, or more accurately, an objective achievement. But that didn't stop me from being motivated to try to be the best.
Ultimately, the real litmus test in motivation is this (according to Jack):
"I always do this experiment in my head. If I had $30 million in the bank, what would I do with my time? When you really sit down and meditate on that ... it's a great test of what you really want. What would you do?"
Jack's answer was fairly simple. "I'd probably do a lot more fishing."
Mine was not as simple. I don't think I would change much. I'm not really a golfer. I don't fish. I love my job. I love spending time with my beloved wife. I love broadcasting games on the radio.
Nope, probably wouldn't change much.
But what a great question. What does motivate you?
If money were no object, what would you spend most of your time on?