Motivation 3.0

Art by Max Solve

There are some mismatchings around what business knows and what science knows about human behaviour. In Business, we believe that rewards and incentives can make people work more and better. However, after a series of constant scientific studies, this theory was broken down into two criteria: mechanical jobs and creative jobs.

For the first group, the tasks are mechanical. You know want do you need to do, when, where, and with whom. The work here is not about thinking and making decisions but is merely a sequence of tasks predetermined. In the second group, the work is more about problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity. What scientists discovered is that in this kind of job, the reward not only doesn’t help but, also it can be harmful to the process.

Different efforts need different incentives.

Adapting it to our world, we can see how the last century jobs were more automated. It was normal to wake up early, go to work, repeat the same sequence of tasks all day long and at 5 clock out and go home. However, with all the automation and in special with the advent of the Internet, repetitive jobs are no longer executed by human hand, but by robotic “minds”. The more constant the chores are, the fewer jobs are available are these positions. It is infinitely cost less to buy new software than pay all the wages and benefits. Leave alone all the other issues as vacations, motivational activities and leadership skills that are necessary every time you are working with real people.

Art by Thandiwe Muriu

The mechanical jobs went away (some are still in process. -- Bye, uber and cab drives, we gonna miss you. Just a little, but we will…) and the rational jobs got more and more frequent. If we have machines to do our job, now someone needs to take care of the machines. That’s why we are seeing a bunch of employers looking for coding, programming, designing and many other skills.

Things are getting even more complex, though. For the next years, computer skills will not be enough anymore, since we have more people working with computers, we need more people to deal with these people. (Gotcha?) It means that leadership, problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking, decision making, and many other intellectuals (and human) skills are going to be needed.

So, do you remember that I’ve told you here, at the beginning of this text that if-then rewards don’t help with these new skills? So whatta hell will gonna help us? I will tell you: creativity.

That’s right! Creativity is key to develop all these skills, and once it is killed by reward, we need to create a new way to motivate people. The secret of high performance in the 21st century is the intrinsic drive. The drive to do things for your own sake. The drive to do things because they matter to you.

Art by Jay Keem

The build performance is necessary to build: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.


To build autonomy the employees need to be free to create. No schedules, no dress code, no time control. The focus is 100% on the job that needs to be done and on the deadline that needs to be met. That is also the reason why many job positions are transforming itself into freelance contracts. If you are a freelancer you need to deliver a job, and it just doesn’t matter how you will gonna do it, as long it is perfect and in time. The worker receives money and freedom, and the company receives the job done and has no employment issues.

Art by Jeff Rikhotso


Did you already hear that you will need to learn new things during your whole Life? Yeap… that’s true. In our past economic model, it was necessary to go to school, then university, and after that you were ready to start to work, right? If you were a nerdy, a doctor or a layer, maybe you gonna need some more time studying, but for all the mere mortals around, this cycle was enough. However, the cycles are speeding so much faster than before, that what we learn in one year maybe is not the same the year before. If you work with social media ads you know exactly what I am talking about. Everything can change in one week.

Art by Kevin Cook

I am a true believer in the “Creative Idleness” model. That says everyone should find a balance where you study what you like and put it in practice as your job. That is a perfect way (IMHO) to study the whole Life, and also work with all the autonomy you want without getting crazy, or going straight to the psychologist’s divan. So, find out what you love is the first step to be prepared for the future.


What do you care about?

What do you love?

What do you hate?

What do you stand for?

Finding your Life purpose is not an easy task, and it can change a lot during your whole Life. However, when you work in something you believe you are already motivating yourself. Also, it is an amazing way to attract people that have the same issues you do, and believe in the same paradigms. When you work in a project because you believe in it the mind and behaviour response you have are huge. And it is easier to connect with the people who are working with you. The same purpose makes bonds. Focus yourself on the big picture, find your story, and seek for people who wanna live the same experiences and tell the same stories.

There is nothing more powerful than a great story told together by a community.

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