Some of you may know that I am aspiring to become an above mediocre Texas Hold ’em poker player. Although I don’t get enough practice, I do study the game. It is a very complex game that, as they say, “Takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master.” My studies have helped me uncover the reasons why people become engaged in endeavors such as hobbies and work.
Studies indicate that people aspire to Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose (MAP) in what they do. At work, once people are paid enough to “take money off the table,” they want MAP. The carrot and stick approach of motivation works very well for simple, straightforward tasks. Pay people enough so they are not thinking about the money; they are thinking about their work. For more complex tasks requiring creative, conceptual thinking, the carrot reward system actually demotivates.
Mastery is the urge to get better at stuff. We want to become good or better at things. Striving to Mastery is satisfying.
Autonomy is the desire to be self-directed. We want to direct our own lives and make our own decisions. Autonomy is satisfying.
People want to have Purpose in their lives. They want a sense that they are working toward a greater goal or good outside themselves. Purpose is satisfying.
MAP encompasses the reasons I play poker. Mastery – to try to be better at it; Autonomy – to do my own thing; and Purpose – to uh, win money. Oops, maybe money has not been taken off the table after all.
View this great clip on MAP.
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