The Only Three Reasons You Went To Work Today

Contrary to popular opinion, money is not what’s driving most of us.

This was a conclusion reached by Psychologists Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer after analyzing 12,000 employee diary entries. This and similar findings are featured in an essay on motivation by Walter Chen at buffer. Employees tend to be motivated by emotion and not by financial incentive. Financial incentive has even been shown to have a negative effect on performance.

So what really gets us out of bed? Psychology author Dan Pink boils it down to three things:

Autonomy: Our desire to direct our own lives. In short: “You probably want to do something interesting, let me get out of your way!”

Mastery: Our urge to get better at stuff.

Purpose: The feeling and intention that we can make a difference in the world.


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