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Definition of Motivation

In: English and Literature

Submitted By school28
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It's hard for people to do things they don't want to do without an incentive. Most people, need to force themselves out of bed to go to school or to go to work. However, these incentives are clear. A student goes to work because they need to get an education to get a good job. And an employee goes to work because they have bills to pay. However, when your basic needs are being met, what motivates someone to, for example, cheat? Or for parents, how to make your child go to the bathroom on their own. A film based on the book, Freakonomics, economist, Steven D. Levitt, and, Stephen Dubner discuss how using an incentive to get what you want from someone can work in some situations and may not in another. They use examples from Sumo wrestlers and their own children. In addition, they conducted an experiment at a high school in Chicago Heights, Illinois to see if by giving students money in exchange for bringing their grades up. Because incentives is something that motivates one to do something; it sometimes could be used to illicit positive results.

Daniel Pink wrote a book called, Drive, a title he used to as a synonym for motivation. Pink use to write speeches for vice president, Al Gore, while he was in office. Pink has done extensive research on motivation. He explains how there are two types of motivation, 1.0 and 2.0. Pink explains that motivation 1.0 was the primitive motivation that we had, when people were nomads and hunted and foraged for food, searched for security and finding mates. This was to simply take care of their most basic human necessities. As we evolved, we became motivated my rewards and punishment, what he called, carrots and sticks. The idea behind it is, ‘if/then’ rewards – if you do this, then you get that. However pink argues that, “those kinds of motivators work in certain circumstances, but they don’t work for creative and conceptual tasks. And they also have some big downsides; they can crush intrinsic motivation, they can impair creativity, they can reduce performance, and they can encourage people to cheat. And so I think that our over-reliance on these kinds of things is very dangerous.”(sc.com) He uses the example of schools who have implimented a system where the kids themselves set their own goals and do their own evaluations. Pink says, “If you look at the people who are homeschooling kids and doing un-schooling where the kids are directing a lot of the learning, those kids end up learning quite a bit and being extraordinarily happy”(sc.com). He uses those schools as an example of how punishment and rewards can be effective, but in the example of young children, he claims in his research that they do much better when children take control of the classroom and not a structured curriculum. What motivates these kids is that they get to learn is that they get to learn what they want learn. Pink claims that, if you look at the schools like The Big Picture Schools where the kids’ interests determine the curriculum, those schools are doing remarkable work with kids from low-income areas”(sc.com). Giving the kids an autonous school enviroment may seem untraditional, but Pink reports that they are much more motivated to come to school and continue to further their own education. This example shows how an intrinsic reward motivates children, however, what if they were giving money for good grades instead?
(1:08) In the movie, Freakonomics, researchers of the University of Chicago set out to answer the question, can you bribe students to get good grades with monetary rewards? The study focuses on 9th graders at Bloom Trail Highschool in Chicago Heights, Illinois. Students will receive fifty dollars per month if they can improve their grades and keep them up. The idea they were trying to get across was, get grades, go to college, and you will get a good job that pays well. The study focus' on Urail King and Kevin Muncy, both on the verge of repeating the 9th grade. In the first month, Muncy was only able to bring up his E, to D. While King was able to to bring up two of his class, however, he dropped a letter grade in another. Throughout the experiment, you see them both struggling with their own struggles to do their school work. Muncy seems unfocused, while King was not wanting to do his homework. Although both students struggled to bring their grades up, each had a different result. At the end of the experiment, King was able to bring up all of his grades and had a passing report card for that semester. However, Muncy was not able to bring up any of his grades, instead all of his grades dropped to an E. Although, financial rewards did help some students to motivate them to do better, others were not able to be successfully motivated by the rewards. This proves that not even money can motivate some people to push themselves to do better, however, intrinsic rewards is a potential big motivator.

One of the most successful millenials and the creator of the highly successful social media website, Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg has earned his much of his success partly because of his incentives for creating the website. Many people have argued that Zuckerburg did it for the money, however, he says otherwise. In an interview done by Wired magazine, zuckerberg was asked what his incentives were for making Facebook. He says, “We made the site so that all of our members are a part of smaller networks like schools, companies or regions, so you can only see the profiles of people who are in your networks and your friends. We did this to make sure you could share information with the people you care about”(zimbio.com). His goal was to have people connected and sharing information to those who you care about. Zuckerberg was someone with a big idea and wanted to go out and make a change in the world. In fact, he felt so strongly about his mission, that anyone that worked for him that was not aligned with his vision was let go. He was strong in his convictions and did not let money, or anyone else, persuade him otherwise. Researchers have studied the correlation between intrinsic motivation and the workplace. They found, “with regard to creative performance, employees may need to perceive that the task itself has certain intrinsically fulfilling components before they can be influenced by conditions that are extrinsically rewarding.”(journal) Meaning, employees are much more willing to perform if there is some type of intrinsic reward. In addition, they also found that, yes extrinisic rewards could enhance the employees creative performance as long as there is sufficient intrinisic rewards from the task. Mark Zuckerberg has been an extremely successful entrepreneur and is why many ask him what his secrets are to his success. When asked what his incentive was, most people assuming its for the money. Instead, he says this, “It's not because of the amount of money. For me and my colleagues, the most important thing is that we create an open information flow for people.”() Through his intrinisic motivation, he was able to use his creativity to build, what is now a billion dollar company.

At times, a person's incentives for doing something may be hard to understand. A book written by Jon K tells called, Into the Wild, tells the journey of a young man named Christopher McCandless and his decision to live out in the wild. McCandless, had everything ahead of him. His grade were A average and his parents making above average pay, McCandless had the world in his hands. However, he felt different than the average college student. While others were trying to figure out how to land a job after graduation, he had other ideas that would lead him to a journey that would end fatal, but inspired and touched many lives along the way. He burned whatever money he had and donated the rest of his college fund to a charity, and told no one but his sister about his plans. His incentive for radical change of living was simple; he claimed that people who are unhappy, don't do much to change their circumstances. He says, “So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure”(Krakauer 40). McCandless was motivated by not only his passion for adventure but he searched for happiness within himself, something he was not getting at home or at school. Many people have criticized him for his immaturity and his somewhat know it all attitude. But he did what many people cant do, and that is to make a change when you aren't fully happy. And although Christopher McCandless' life was cut much too short, his motivation for his path has inspired others to do what makes them happy.…...

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