I recently just finished the book, “Drive” by Daniel H. Pink. I was reading it for my Measurements and Evaluations class and I honestly thought it was going to be a rough boring read. I’m not much of a reader anyway besides reading music for my ensembles, however, I was pleasantly surprised on how interesting and engaging this book was. The book reveals what motivates us as humans and what sort of conditions and environments we feel most motivated by. So all of the topics I’m about to discuss can be credited to Mr. Daniel H. Pink and his book “Drive.”
Going into this book as a future music educator, I knew its ideas were going to be especially helpful in my career. However, I didn’t have a clue on how helpful it would be in my life now. As a college student, there are definitely days where I don’t want to do most things. We all have those days. We get stressed, have anxiety, we get bored, tired, hungry, sad, depressed. College students can have all of those in one day. Basically, we all have days where we don’t feel motivated to do what we came here to do.
However, I think we forget an important reason we’re here. We want to be there. If you didn’t care about getting an education then you wouldn’t be here. You wouldn’t be paying thousands of dollars to go to school. We also forget another important reason. We get to be here. I’m not saying it was easy getting into college, it’s hard enough filling out the endless applications, interviews and auditions. We all made an effort to get here somehow, and now we have the opportunity to receive a college education. So why do we care so much? Why do we try so hard? One simple answer that applies to all of us is that we go to college to get a job that pays the bills. So, a monetary reward for a specific skill we have spent years acquiring.
However, a more complicated, human answer is that we have intrinsic motivation. Us, as humans, want to have goals, want to be responsible, and work hard. Yes, we also want rewards for our hard work such as a paycheck. Rewards outside of ourselves that motivate us are called extrinsic motivation. However, our intrinsic motivation is a lot more powerful. In fact, people are more likely to perform a task such as, solving a simple puzzle, faster and better without the promise of a reward. We are also more likely to get our jobs done and feel motivated in a comfortable environment. Autonomy makes a huge difference in our life and work/school environment. We need the ability to be self-governed. Honestly I think college does a great job of that, you major in what you want, you go to class when you want, you eat and sleep when you want and you get to surround yourself with people who are going through the same thing you are.
So if our intrinsic motivation is so powerful, why do we have days where we don’t feel very motivated to do anything? My answer is super simple. We’re human. We all have off days. However, I want to share my two favorite quotes from the book that truly speak to me now,
“…the path to mastery-becoming ever better at something you care about-is not lined with daises and spanned by a rainbow. If it were, more of us would make the trip. Mastery hurts” (Pink, 122).
“ ‘Being a professional,’ Julius Erving once said ‘is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them’” (Pink, 123).
Wow, are those two quotes the absolute truth. So, as the hardest time of the semester approaches keep in mind how powerful our intrinsic motivation can be. Even though we have days where we don’t want to do anything, the hard road ahead of us will be worth it. I’d like to thank Daniel H. Pink for his book and my Measurement and Evaluation class for making me read this book about motivation at a time where I was lacking it.