Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach.

That’s a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink and asserts that the secret to high 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.

Drawing on scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life.

In Drive, Dan Pink explores what motivates us, and what drives us, and contests that we have to upgrade to “autonomy, mastery and purpose.”

He examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose-and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action.



With autonomy, mastery and purpose we will feel more connected to what we do.

Autonomy is the desire to direct our own lives.
Mastery is the urge to get better and better at something that matters.
Purpose is the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” – Albert Einstein

Mastery begins with “flow”, when our challenges are matched with our abilities.  But flow doesn’t guarantee mastery, as the two concepts operate on different horizons of time.  One happens in a moment; the other unfolds over months, years, sometimes decades.

One of the laws of mastery is ‘Mastery is a Pain’, because it takes great effort, perseverance and passion for long term goals.

Another law is ‘Mastery is a Mindset’, drawing from the work of Carol Dweck, a psychology professor who believes that the kind of mindset we have can determine whether or not we succeed at what we do.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

The last law is ‘Mastery is an Asymptote’.
An asymptote is a straight line that a curve approaches but never quite reaches.  As Pink says, “the mastery asymptote is a source of frustration.

Why reach for something you can never fully attain?

But it’s also a source of allure.

Why not reach for it?

The joy is in the pursuit more than the realization.

In the end, mastery attracts precisely because mastery eludes.

Refocus your life and goals. Become happy and productive

Eliminate Negative Thoughts.  If you find yourself doubting that you an accomplish something, instead redirect your thoughts towards considering how you can accomplish it, and move forward with your best effort to make it work.

Schedule things to improve your Productivity. Hard work isn’t the only ingredient in success. Another critical component is productivity. Re-organize your work area, so that it is a productive environment. Find ways to challenge yourself to accomplish tasks in less time.

Refocus. Take some time to refocus your goals and aspirations. Consider switching your daily routine to something new that excites you and motivates you to accomplish new things.

Simplify Your Goals. Make your goals clearer, simpler, and easier to attain. When complexity is taken to an extreme, can be detrimental to your goals.

Take the Path of Least Resistance. Instead of taking the path you think you ought to take, focus on a path that presents the fewest challenges.

Reward Yourself. Set specific goals, accomplish them, and then reward yourself.

Learn from others. It can provide a motivational example that has worked for someone else.

Dan Pink:

Dan Pink on Drive and Motivation

“This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace.”

Who wants to be a genius?

THOMAS EDISON gave his famous formula for genius as 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Modern-day students of geniuses and prodigies, though, argue over the relative contributions of more tangible factors—of genetics, of physiology, of hours spent in training. Most believe that geniuses have special genes. Almost nobody takes the opposite stance: that prodigy performance, in any field, lies within the grasp of anyone who cares to try hard enough.

Anders Ericsson, a psychologist at Florida State University, falls into the minority camp. Given ten years of deliberate practice, Dr Ericsson says, anyone should be able to attain prodigy-level performance in his discipline of choice. The intuitive objection to this idea is the “Mozart argument”, as it is called by Brian Butterworth, a neuroscientist at University College London who has studied the psychological aspects of arithmetic for many years. This argument is that not everyone can become a Mozart merely by dint of hard work. Dr Ericsson wonders why not. After all, he argues, did not Mozart become Mozart by dint of hard work?

Carol Dweck, test your mindset online