Thursday, September 9, 2010

Drive Yourself

Before reading Drive, terms such as “sticks and carrots”, extrinsic/intrinsic motivation, type I behavior, type X behavior, flow and Motivation 2.0/3.0 were never a part of my vocabulary. I didn’t understand why I did what I did or even how I did what I did. I just did something without giving any thought to it. Then I would continue on with my life. When I got the book drive I glanced at the book cover and thought, “Why are we getting a book that tells us about driving?” I didn’t even look at the subtext that clearly stated what the book basically was about: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. In my mind, I felt that this book would have no interest to me and that I would only read it because I was obligated to. Little did I know that this book would have a major impact on my perspective of many things.

While reading this book, I agreed on and was awed by many of the facts that the eloquent author, Daniel Pink, gave us. I started to relate to many of the things that was said. I remember when I used to get paid to take out the trash, clean my room, make my mom’s bed, and vacuum the entire house. I did those things because I was extrinsically motivated to do so. This went on for a while until one day I didn’t receive any payment. I put less effort into my chores, even when the “sticks” kicked in. The longer time progressed, the more I started to slack off. Then, one day I decided to clean because I was happy that I did well on a test earlier that day. When my mom came home, from a long, stressful day at work, and noticed the house clean, she gave me gratitude. Later that day, I reflected back and came to a conclusion that not only did it feel great to get praised for doing a good deed, but it felt great to do chores. I immediately thought about myself as being crazy for liking how I felt during chore-time. I never could explain this awkward feeling, until now. I was in “flow” when doing chores. The amount of time I had to clean the entire house before my mom came home was very little. It was difficult to complete the task in time, but not impossible.

After reading this book, and learning about type I and type X behavior, I realized, that as a teen, I showed some characteristics of type X behavior. At times, I would only do things for extrinsic recognition. Immediately, I wanted to change this type of behavior. Now that I am aware of the consequences of type X behavior in the long-run, I tend to think more about how and why I do things. I want to do things because they make me happy and because they are better for me and others around me in the long-run. I am more aware of my “drive” and how I can use it to the best of my abilities. I’ve learned that with a purpose and with autonomy you can improve your “drive.” Nothing feels better than completing something when you want to, how you want to, and with whom you want to. And with a purpose, completing something is easier and more “fun.”

You may be wondering, “Why did you take all your time just to write this long post, Robert?” Besides the obvious fact that this was a mandatory assignment, it is because I want you all to think about what is your “drive.” Then I want you to ponder upon how to master your “drive” to by always having a purpose and autonomy.

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