Driving on a full tank

Dan Pink's latest book, Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us, builds on some great ideas from four other books worth reading. Each of these other authors give us advice for driving on a full tank of our own energy. Here's how I'd paraphrase each of these other books' inputs into our thinking about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

Flow - The Psychology of Optimal Experience / Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Whenever we're anxiety ridden about what we're trying to make ourselves accomplish, we going against the flow. We're turning life into a struggle and getting tunnel-visioned out of our frustration with the difficulties. We're already maxed out on the existing challenges and freak out in the face of additional obstacles. We're relying on those "carrots on the table" to get us fired up in order to get through this,. There never seems to be enough carrots.
--- When our body-minds are equally serene and energized, our powers of observation increase. We not only see more, we sense when to respond in ways that turn out to be "spot on". We feel like we're connected with the others involved and any changes unfolding. We welcome more challenges because we're handling them stress-free in this "flow" state of mind. We're feeling blessed by the experience which amounts to receiving an abundance of intrinsic rewards in the moment.

Mindset the New Psychology of Success / Carol Dweck When we think our amount of intelligence is a given learning is something we try to avoid. Anytime we're struggling with comprehension or execution, we think we're exposing our deficient amount of intelligence. It can only be bad to make mistakes and there's no sense in taking risks that could result in blatant blunders. The only way we can get motivated to learn is from the grades and fulfillment of requirements that lead to graduation. The "grade and grad" game is the only game that can be won with fixed amount of intelligence.
--- When we think our intelligence grows as we learn more, learning is inherently rewarding. Struggling to accurately comprehend or execute new understandings will be rewarded with the successful accomplishment. Mistakes are part of the process that help to fine tune approaches and to clear up mistaken assumptions. The greater the risk taken, the greater the reward realized as the result adds to personal confidence, expanded curiosity and deepening satisfaction with the self-motivated exploration.

Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It: No Schedules, No Meetings, No Joke -- the Simple Change That Can Make Your Job Terrific / Cali Ressler & Jody Thompson When we work in a place where we're getting managed, we're obligated to comply with commands, structure and policies. The use of our time is left to other's discretion since we're being paid to show up. We think work is a place we go to, not something we do. We become dependent on the pay and perks to appear dedicated, willing and eager to perform on the job. Meanwhile we're paying a high price in relationships, personal interests and self respect. We may occasionally let our resentment show, but we mostly repress it because "we know what's good for us".
--- When we work in a "results only work environment" (ROWE) how we get a job done is our responsibility. We're given the freedom to work from home, on the road or at odd hours. There's no need to show up for boring meetings since all communications can be handled via cell phones, PDA's and laptops. This approach goes far beyond flex time or employee empowerment. It restores the ability of individuals to do their best work when respected, trusted and admired for getting it done as they see fit. Self motivation soars with resulting increases in coordination, cooperation, communication and commitment.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions / Dan Ariely When we're operating under market norms, we're available for a price. We wonder what others will cost us to cooperate with our intentions. We assume they can be bought like ourselves. We will seek a fair price while becoming vulnerable to irrational comparisons. We'll have no concept of cheapening the relationship or reducing others' genuine initiative to our successful manipulation of their incentives.
--- When we're operating under social norms, we do things out of the goodness of our heart, consideration for others and our genuine commitment to the common good. We express our self respect through what we do for others in respect for their needs, outlooks and limitations. We take offense when someone introduces market norms while we're happily self motivated, generous and satisfied.

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