For most of us, we often work our hardest when we don’t feel like we’re working very hard at all. Doing an easy task can feel like moving a boulder if it’s something you hate doing. Getting paid a lot of money to do it only makes it a well-paid unpleasant task.
On the other hand, there are times you’re completely in the zone when you’re working. The going may be tough, but that just makes the work you’re getting done feel more satisfying. And the amount you’re being paid? Just isn’t all that relevant to be honest.
This is what Dan Pink describes in his book, “Motivation 3.0.” He argues that we aren’t motivated nearly as much by punishment and rewards as we are by our relationship to the work we’re doing – whether we have control over the work we’re doing, whether we feel like that work is purposeful, and whether we are able to get ‘in the zone’ and achieve mastery as we work.
His TED talk is great as well! If you have some time, it’s definitely worth a watch.