The Drive in Life or 3 stories about what really motivates us

The Drive in Life or 3 stories about what really motivates us

Today I want to talk about a book that deals with motivation.

What is noteworthy is the motivation stimulated by our third motivating force, our innate need to manage our own lives, learn and create something new, and to treat ourselves and the world around us better.

This is not another description of someone else’s epiphany, but a book about what really motivates us – Daniel Pink, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”.

The Drive in Life or 3 stories about what really motivates us

To begin with, the author writes in a somewhat provocative style. There are many examples of how people get drive out of their activities. However, you will not find ready answers to the question “What really motivates me?” On the contrary, you will have new questions. 🙂

That’s why I want to do today’s review a little differently than usual. A review in the format of stories. Stories that are an attempt to answer the question of what really motivates me.

Story One: The Autonomy

The dependence of motivation on autonomy is not immediately apparent. Meanwhile, according to research by psychologists:

Autonomous people are more effective because they realize that they are responsible for their own destiny, behavior, activities, feelings and results.

How does it work? Let me tell you a story.

I have been striving for independence since childhood. In business this aspiration also is strong enough, though I always try to keep in my head an idea: independence is good, and cooperation is even better 🙂 My way to business started as a system administrator (at the end of the last century I was good at computers and a little bit worse at networks), then I worked a little as a graphic designer and finished this part of my career as a programmer.

A funny story happened next: I accidentally sold my book on programming, and I was so carried away by the process that I completely switched to sales. This work appealed to me for two reasons – the dependence of the result on my efforts and working with people. Later it became clear that only part of the result depended on the salesperson, the major role was played by the processes developed in the company. However, you often forget about it, especially when you work at the intersection of marketing and sales, and the whole company is just bursting into action for the client.

Having gone into a project form of interaction with companies (or a “portfolio career,” if you are close to Charles Handy’s ideas), over time I switched more and more to interaction with specific people. And now all those interactions are starting to grow into something bigger…

If I look back on this journey, autonomy has always been important to me, especially in the four most important aspects of my work:

  • what people do?
  • when they do it?
  • how they do it?
  • and who they do it with?

At different times I’ve evaluated these things in different ways. However, the further I go, the more important all four of these aspects become.

Story Two: The Mastery

Professional amateur – that’s the phrase in the title of one of my blogs. It would seem, what does mastery have to do with it? However, if mastery is understood as a journey from control and submission to autonomy and passion, that is my definition of mastery. Or rather, it’s Daniel Pink’s definition, but I completely agree with him. 🙂

I am interested in different (but not all) areas of business, and I periodically try my hand at these areas, forming, as Steve Jobs said, points of experience, which I later connect.

It wasn’t always like this, but now I’m passionate and work [more often] in the flow. I give up on some things, because I realize that I’m going in the wrong direction and doing the wrong thing. However, most of them I bring to fruition, and then I make decisions about further steps – to close them or to develop them.

There’s a great line in the book “Drive” about mastery being a way of thinking. Once you realize this, you can “pump up” your mastery more intensively.

That’s why in life it’s important to have the right way of thinking (I’m not talking about positive thinking now, but the type of thinking that helps you personally), to make a constant effort to improve your skills everyday, but to remember that skill is an asymptote…

Story three: The Determination

In “Drive”, the author writes:

“The determination provides the necessary context for autonomy and mastery”. And I completely agree with this statement. Making maximum profit cannot be the main goal of a business”.

Things like change and improvement are still important to me. I don’t aim for globality. I always start with myself and hope that it will spread like circles on water. And it will be useful to someone else, from those who are near and those who are far away. And then they will start their own circles on the water…

Those are the stories! So that was an unconventional review of this book. I hope you found it interesting.


I would like to close the review with a some quotes from this book, in which Pink succinctly describes the essence of his book:

  • “Sticks and carrots are a thing of the past. It no longer works today”;
  • “There is a gap between the accumulated scientific knowledge and daily business practice. Our current business operating system, built on external incentives (carrot and stick), has lost its effectiveness and is increasingly doing nothing but harm”;
  • “To be productive and successful in the twenty-first century, a person needs the ability to change quickly, as well as options such as autonomy, skill, and determination”.

So if you feel that you have stalled on career development or development of your business I advise you to buy and read this book.

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