Sunday, October 31, 2010

Self awesomation.

RSA animated this presentation by Daniel Pink. As the author of Drive, he advocates right-brained and intrinsic motivation. That's where our passion lives. It's the difference between safely completing a job and pushing yourself to exceed job expectations. Checking it off our list or making a deeper statement.

If you're a creative thinker, chances are you're not driven by standard external motivators. Creatives have a love/hate relationship with themselves. Most of the time they are trying to appease their inner critic (who is often a discerning asshole.) If they can impress this inner critic, the world will love them. At least briefly, in their own minds. They may not admit it, but this is their motivation. (That, and yes, cool shiny things.)

Pink calls out three key intrinsic motivators:
1. Autonomy (empowerment) 
2. Mastery (improving skills)
3. Purpose (working toward a bigger goal or being part of something bigger)
More than anything else, creatives want to be challenged to do great work and be empowered to do so.

Pink references an interesting study, with a Bob the Builder metaphor no less. The study goes against the core concept of self motivation. (Someone says self motivation, I think Stuart Smalley daily affirmations.) We've been taught to picture ourselves succeeding. No doubts. This is known as declarative self-talk.

Declarative vs. interrogative self-talk

Declarative self-talk = "I will be awesome."

Interrogative self-talk = "Will I be awesome?"

You would think the declarative statement would be more effective. Wrong. When doubt is introduced, you are forced to question variables. Construct a game plan. Humility becomes part of the equation. You have to take a step back and look at the big picture. Challenge yourself and your team.

"… questions open and declarations close. We need both, of course. But that initial tincture of honest doubt turns out to be more powerful than a bracing shot of certainty," Pink concludes.
So, the question is, will you be awesome? Ask yourself and get back to me.

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