“Rather than seeing motivation as a simple, rat-seeking-reward equation, my hope is to shine some light on this beautiful, deeply human, and psychologically complex world.” Dan Ariely
I truly enjoyed reading Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations by Dan Ariely. In the beginning, he opens up to you, the reader, by writing about an extremely painful and personal experience he went through.
One night, Dan Ariely received a call from a woman who he did not know. She was calling him from the hospital, asking him to come help her because two of her teenage children had been badly burned in a fire. When Dan was a teenager, he had also been in an accident in which nearly 70% of his body had been severely burned. He went to the hospital to help the woman’s children for months, and that is where he made his first realizations about motivation:
- “Many of our motivations spring from trying to conquer a sense of helplessness and reclaim even a tiny modicum of control over our lives.”
- “[Volunteers who help the chronically ill] demonstrate how our ingrained desire to believe that our lives have purpose beyond our life spans drives us to work extra hard, even to the point of our own suffering, in order to gain more meaning.”
To read more about how Dan Ariely helped this family, buy Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations.
After he opened up about such a personal topic, I found it much easier to listen to what Dan had to say about how he believes motivation works. He talks about several experiments he does with people and discovers the best way to kill somebody’s motivation, and he also reveals one of the most important things to do in order to motivate somebody else.
If you want to learn how to, and how not to, motivate yourself and other people, I recommend that you read Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations