Monday, April 4, 2011

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
By Daniel Pink
Published by Riverhead Books

What motivates us in work, in learning and in life? Daniel Pink supports his answer from the fields of science and business. And his answer is contained in three words: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Dan's book is targeted to the business world but I think it would also be an excellent book for teachers and coaches. Dan rejects using the time-honored business practices of what he calls "the carrot and stick" motivation and turns to the realm of science, namely psychology to find out what truly motivates people. He even says that "a central idea of this book has been the mismatch between what science knows and what business does" (page 145). Business has often followed the mantra that people are motivated by extrinsic rewards such as salary and accolades. Psychology has tried to teach us that people are more motivated by intrinsic rewards like helping others, being creative and coming up with out-of-the-box solutions to problems.

Before you read much further, you may want to check out Pink's free on-line assessment to see if you are a Type I or a Type X personality here. A Type I person is mainly dependent on intrinsic rewards for behavior while a Type X person is mostly propelled by extrinsic rewards. If you come out as a Type X like me, Dan has some helpful hints for changing the way you are motivated. 

One thing I really liked about the book was Pink's recap/further information section in the back of the book where he gives you the highlights of each chapter, suggestions for further reading, a discussion guide, helpful hints for parents and educators, better business practices for managers and other snippets of useful information.

What does this book have to say to my faith? As I read, I began to wonder what motivated people to become Christian and what continued to motivate them to come to church, participate in missions and outreach as well as giving their money when the offering plate came around (and to be in church to begin with).  Certainly, I give God the credit for motivating hearts to accept Jesus as their Savior. But what about the next step? I don't think my own denomination or other protestant churches do well in helping disciple new believers from the altar into the pews. I know of many new Christians who stuck with it because the Spirit was alive and well in them and they knew the joy of being a believer. What happens after the first couple of years? What can we "old" Christians do to keep them and us motivated to grow in our relationship with Christ? 

There are many Christians who are looking for extrinsic rewards from God. Perhaps they want to become rich or at least keep food on the table. They want their kids to stay alive and out of trouble. They want better bosses or nag-less spouses. "If God can give me good stuff then I will continue to believe."

There are other Christians who are motivated by intrinsic rewards such as helping others come to Christ, knowing and understanding the Bible and following God's will. These Christians are the believers who stick with it and discover a depth of joy and purpose that they were missing in their lives. I call these mature believers. As a pastor, I think it is part of my responsibility to highlight and offer the intrinsic rewards of following Christ. And it should be the responsibility of non-ordained believers as well. 

I think you will learn something about what motives you by reading Drive.

Happy Reading!


Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

Coming soon:

No comments:

Post a Comment