Was I better today than yesterday? – Drive and motivation insight from Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink

Last night, I heard Daniel Pink speak about motivation (at Arts & Letters Live at the Dallas Museum of Art.  They put on really good programs).

His message was simple, and clear.  It is found in his new book, Drive:  The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us.  (I plan to present it soon at the First Friday Book Synopsis).

Here is the message:  Intrinsic motivation is deeper, better, and is rapidly replacing extrinsic (rewards and punishments) motivation.  And the question for which you need the best motivation is this question:

“Was I better today than yesterday?”

He said that if you learn to ask this question, very regularly, you will develop the practice of seldom going more than one day with an answer of “no.”  If your answer is “no” for one day, you will work a little bit harder at getting better the second day.

And he offers his own Twitter summary of his own book (on page 203):

“Carrots and sticks are so last century.  Drive says for 21st century work, we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery, and purpose.”

So here is your question.  What motivates you to do better/get better/be better?  And if you are not motivated toward better, then it is definitely time to find some motivation.


Here’s Dan Pink’s Ted Talk (just under 19 minutes) on motivation.  I just watched it — it’s worth the time investment.

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