Monday, February 20, 2012

Carrots & Sticks, Inc.

Big Bear's blogpost on "Motivation" is truly getting some interesting responses, and spawned another post on WoW Insider about Making Good Choices.

And, I am going to try to bullet-point all I know about motivation. My data comes from years of observations of a demographic that is possibly the most conflicted populace of intrinsic versus extrinsic subjects a scientist could hope to find. Here are my thoughts:

  • Myth:
    • There is a myth of motivation. Many of us who are in charge of motivating others (work, school, or home) find this out the hard way: No one can give someone else intrinsic motivation.
  • Depletion:
    • However, we can take away motivation. Consider motivation like a tiny, precious amount of fresh water. You need it to live, and to grow. Some of us have vast reserves of this fresh water, an aquifer of it, and draw on it when we need. However, some live in a motivational desert. And if we are negative, shaming, or discouraging, we evaporate that motivation in a flash. It can be very fragile. This comes in the disguise of self-esteem and questionable modeling.
  • Intrinsic versus Extrinsic:
    • Extrinsic motivation works, but temporarily. Those who are already motivated appreciate the perks, but often do not seek out the "extras." The idea of teacher bonuses related to children's test scores is a horrible, horrible idea. It will make the bad teachers worse, and the good ones despair further. This is why corporate bonuses for gutting business (looking at you, Mitt) are a horrible idea. This is why paying a kid allowance for doing what he should be doing anyway to make the home run smoother is a bad idea. Go out and plow the back forty, punk. Nothing like "you don't grow it, you don't eat" to movitate someone. 

Right now things are falling down around my ears. Dishwasher broke, trees from the storm are still hanging, cracked and broken, all over the place, there is still a dead bird that hit the door waiting to be buried (I hid it under a box: not so good at the scooping up of dead things), and the kitchen sink is still in disrepair. I have some carrots, and I have some sticks. And I know how to use them both.

But there are cookies to bake, and milk to drink, and walks to take, a new Simpsons' episode, homemade pizza to make, and then maybe some old raids and achievements still yet to be gained.

To those of you in LFR who are sitting on your tail on purpose, please stop. For those of you who are contributing little to LFR because you're completely befuddled and not sure what to do, I feel your pain. For those of you who are doing a great job but being an asshat while doing so, to you I say, "Shame on you." You are no hero, of no moral character, and are a horrible human being. Yes, total judgment on my part. "I said good day, sir!"

But: to those of you, in the virtual and real world, who do what you're supposed to do, who get up in the morning and do your best every single day, who chop down the branches and bury the birds, I say, "You are outstanding, and I adore you."

Take a bow.

And if you're allergic to carrots, I'll find a cookie for you.

Postscript: Ran four dungeons with Lupe's new talent tree this morning, and *she* did great. Smooth as silk, baby. Smooth as silk.

Theme song: High Hopes.

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