Friday, December 28, 2012

What Motivates Me

The secret to creating value is answering one question, honestly and deeply.

Why do I do what I do?

Once we know that, anything is possible. Once we dig down through the many levels of why and find a way to activate our own internal generators, there’s no reason we can’t make a contribution wherever we go.

As human beings, each of us is motivated by a small collection of intrinsic means. 

Recently, I sat down and fleshed out the drivers that motivate me. I hope this list inspires you to create your own.

A blank canvas. Making things has always been the most natural way for me to engage with the world. When I get up in the morning, there’s a mechanism inside me that asks what I’m supposed to make next. I am motivated by the freedom to express myself.

A personal ritual. I can motivate myself to do just about anything, as long as there’s a ritual attached to it. Ritual is an intentional, purposeful experience I layer on top of an activity to make it more worthwhile. And I have one for everything I do. I am motivated by a repeatable process.

A captive audience. I believe human interaction is a divine transaction. Engaging with people, even for a moment at a time, fuels me more than anything. And every time I go out of my way to earn people’s attention, I reward them for giving it to me. I am motivated by a chance to perform.


A challenging situation. Creativity is my gift. As a lifelong thinker, the moment something activates the problem solving impetus of my brain, my body has a physical reaction. I start obsessing, imagining and zealously deconstructing everything in my path until the internal monologue stops. I am motivated by solving problems.

A meaningful contribution. I’m genetically wired for hard work. It’s just my nature. I’m happier when I’m being productive and prolific. And there is a place in me that starves if I go more than a few days without nudging the world in a positive direction. I am motivated by the chance to work.

Why do you do what you do?