Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose to be Happy

Daniel H Pink has studied motivation in the business world for a long time and he came to the startling conclusion that traditional ways of motivating people with financial incentives doesn’t work. The only time incentives worked, in fact, was when the problem was mechanical and the path to the solution was straightforward. Study after study, social scientists have found that external rewards narrows the focus and restrict possibilities. The same studies proved that external drives makes it difficult for people to come up with creative solutions to complex problems.

Autonomy and purpose

problem solving, critical thinking and creativity

Instead, companies around the world have shown that people motivation increases when people have autonomy, a driving purpose and the desire to perfect their craft. While his RSA talk is framed in a perspective of business, it’s easy to see the parallels in argument to schools and learning. Teachers are preparing students for a world in which the jobs increasingly require problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. Many schools are trying to mirror that sort of thinking in the classroom to give students practice confronting messy problems, but many students have very little autonomy, mastery or purpose with which to develop intrinsic motivation.

What can we learn from Daniel H Pink and who inspires you? Please share, I really appreciate it.

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