How a bonus can destroy creativity...

In our society as it is today, a lot of emphasis is put on individual achievements and they are often rewarded with bonuses. If we think of humans as egoistic and self-centered this makes perfect sense. Research shows, however, that bonuses and punishment often have a reverse effect. For example they take away the pleasure in doing the act itself and replace it with the pleasure of getting a bonus. How we lose creativity and internal motivation A loss of intrinsic motivation is seen in really young children: rewarding children for drawing a picture will take away the pleasure of drawing itself. Instead the pleasure of getting a reward is set up. Giving a reward for drawing once will influence the child for a long time. The next time the child will expect a reward and if you do not give her a reward she will not draw. Creativity also decreases Not only is intrinsic motivation lost, there is also a loss in creativity. Having to think about a reward, makes that one’s brain is focused on this idea. That leaves less room for other thoughts. Telling someone he will get a bonus if he does real well will get him to try hard, but with blinders on. In another experiment, where (grown-up) people had to creatively find a solution with the offered materials, they measured how much quicker those were that got a 100€ reward. Those that were not offered a reward were both more creative in their solutions and faster in finding a solution. A bonus can be useful If you have to do something that is really boring, or mainly needs some trigger to get done (laying bricks, picking strawberries) rewarding the amount of work done...

Motivational struggle

Motivation seems most needed whenever there are things we need to do that we do not like doing. The goal might be wanted, but that does not make the way easier or more fun. Three little things might have a huge impact on keeping your motivation alive.  How? Make things pleasurable, likely to succeed and let others help you. It sounds easy, but applying this knowledge can be hard. We sometimes want things that are not pleasurable at all. If one thing is impossible to apply to your motivational struggle, the other two focus points might help. Like you, I have days where I don’t feel like doing what I know I should do. The opposite of the advice (making it pleasurable, likely to succeed and get help) can make it even harder: you don’t want it to be painful, while in fear of failure and rejection of your friends for what you are trying to achieve. Pain vs. pleasure Avoid change that is painful or hard to do. You can think about tough work outs or really hard brainwork. Try to make baby steps to make the change easier. In physical workouts this is really easy to achieve, by trying to start slowly. If you reach the goals you set for yourself you will feel much better. For all things that do are painful: try to get motivation elsewhere (eating less in itself isn’t fun). Hope vs. fear If you fear your planned behavior is too hard to stand out, this fear of failing will make success and motivation less likely. So make sure you believe you can do what you planned to do. There are at least two things you might do to keep your hope alive....

No need for motivation

I have this tendency to cross my legs, a persistent urge actually. Every time I uncross them and look down a few seconds later, I find myself back in my comfort zone: legs crossed. However high the motivation is when I challenge myself, motivation will drop and old behaviors flare up. So I ask myself the question if I need motivation – personal drive – or facilitation – supportive surroundings – to get new behavior in place? It is very human to see your motivation drop in the effort of changing yourself. There are so many more things to focus on that we easily forget what we intended to do. It’s not that we should not try to change ourselves. But I do believe that changing your surroundings might get you on the right track easier. Studies in social psychology show that your surroundings are full of triggers that automatically activate behavior. You should try and learn to implement or recognize the triggers that bring the behavior that you want. To get back to my crossed legs, I recently bought a chair that makes it impossible to cross my legs. I will drop of my chair if I do. I changed the situation and with that I automatically changed my behavior. The best part? I now sit straight in a lot of other chairs as well. Well… at least I notice it more often when I cross my legs. This works in many cases, because our behavior is strongly connected to our surroundings. You don’t just start dancing in the middle of the office, even if they would play your favorite tune. The surroundings keep you from it. Start using this to your advantage! Bring fruit with you to...