Or…Mihaly Daniel Malcolm.
We’re looking at three famous authors in the realm of motivation and behavior. Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi of Flow fame. Daniel Pink of Drive (he also wrote A Whole New Mind). And of course Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers (known best for his bestseller Blink!).
What we’re doing with them I think is called a mashup. It’s a social media term from a few years ago – wiki it.
The premise of Daniel Pink’s book is that what motivates people is autonomy, mastery and purpose.
Malcolm Gladwell quips in Outliers…
“Those three things – autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward — are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.
Before we get to Mihaly’s Flow, let’s see the interaction between Pink and Gladwell.
Autonomy – well, both have that. Defining for yourself the how, the with whom, the when, the where, and the with what of your work.
Mastery – Complexity. Mastery is the getting better at an activity. Complexity is the surrounding context of mastery. The more complex something is, the more mastery becomes a factor. And perhaps, the more fulfilling mastery becomes.
Purpose – connection between effort and reward. These aren’t too far off. Pink’s purpose (what is Pink’s purpose, wait that’s the music biz, wrong tangent) is belonging to something bigger than oneself — this phrase is now becoming cliche, but it’s apropos here. When you look at purpose from a different perspective you see that what you want is for what you’re doing to mean something. So purpose is another way of saying you want a connection between what you do and the results you get…it’s just one tends to define results within a bigger “thing” than just your career…which would be selfish, and lacking the bigger purpose…tsk tsk.
From Flow (psychology) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Bold print is my additional commentary.
Csíkszentmihályi identifies the following ten factors as accompanying an experience of flow:
1. Clear goals (expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one’s skill set and abilities). Moreover, the challenge level and skill level should both be high. Purpose
2. Concentrating, a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention (a person engaged in the activity will have the opportunity to focus and to delve deeply into it). Mastery
3. A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness. Mastery
4. Distorted sense of time, one’s subjective experience of time is altered. Mastery.
5. Direct and immediate feedback (successes and failures in the course of the activity are apparent, so that behavior can be adjusted as needed). Purpose, Mastery
6. Balance between ability level and challenge (the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult). Mastery.
7. A sense of personal control over the situation or activity. Autonomy.
8. The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action. Mastery, Purpose.
9. A lack of awareness of bodily needs (to the extent that one can reach a point of great hunger or fatigue without realizing it). Mastery, Purpose.
10. People become absorbed in their activity, and focus of awareness is narrowed down to the activity itself, action awareness merging. Mastery
Can you find these things in your job? Can you carve out more autonomy? Can you discover means to mastery? Have you uncovered a greater purpose?
Must you have a boss or a business give it to you? That would be nice. It would make the workplace more productive, definitely. But if they’re not going to give you it…and you’re not going to go anywhere else to get it…then you’ll have to muddle your way into bringing it into your job.
Survive. Then thrive.
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