Motivation 3.0

A deep dive into what motivates people leads to some interesting conclusions.

Published on 
August 22, 2021
Scott founded TriArch in 2004. He is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Tribe and he serves as our Director of Architecture.

Recently, I’ve taken a deeper dive into what motivates people.  I realized that a lot of my motivation comes from a fear of failure—which isn’t a very healthy motivation.  I seek healthy motivators that are sustainable.

While looking into the subject, I came across a book titled “Drive” by Daniel Pink.  The author references several behavioral psychologists that have specialized in what motivates people.  

Basically, the history of mankind has operated with two motivational drivers until very recently.  Motivation 1.0 can be described as a survival motivation.  Eating, procreating, and staying healthy were the main drivers of our primitive ancestors.  When societies became more complex, a new set of motivators had to be created—Motivation 2.0.  In this motivation, society needed another set of standards to prevent the chaos of people stealing food or partners from others as they sought to eat or procreate with more efficiency.  Motivation 2.0 introduced punishment and rewards—or extrinsic motivations.  Sticks & carrots, if you will.  A person is punished if they do something wrong, and rewarded if they do something right.

Motivation 2.0 has pretty much guided our society for thousands of years.  Most of our businesses are driven by Motivation 2.0.  It assumes that all people are wealth-maximizers and that seeking more wealth is our primary driver.

But starting in the 1970’s, behavioral psychologists realized there is a third driver that is every bit as strong as the first two.  Motivation 3.0 refers to intrinsic motivation.  It stipulates that people aren’t always wealth-maximizers.  There are many cases where people are purpose-maximizers instead.

To be a Type “I” person (intrinsically motivated), a person needs three things to thrive in life: Autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

If we are in control of our task, time, technique, and team then we are considered autonomous. If we seek to get better at a particular task and get into a “flow” while we work at it, that is called mastery.  And if we pursue things larger than ourselves, that is called purpose.  

These 3 things are the key to Motivation 3.0, and, according to behavioral psychologists, the key to true happiness and sustainable motivation.

Scott founded TriArch in 2004. He is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Tribe and he serves as our Director of Architecture.