Sunday 11 November 2007

Money and motivation

Let us think of the words that one could use to describe a motivated person. Excited. Inspired. Passionate. Driven. Enthusiastic. Thrilled. Challenged. Energized. Happy. Committed. Eager. Stimulated. Keen. Pleased. Ecstatic. We could go on and on.

You can’t pay someone to like something. Yes, you can’t make someone like something if they are not motivated. Money does not create motivation. But it can produce movement. If you pay someone to do a job and their hearts are not into it then they won’t be motivated.

Yes, their hearts may not be into it, but they will put in the time. That is what happens when people do things they don’t really like. Think of the words that one can use to describe a motivated person – they typically don’t apply to people who do things for money.

Money and motivation are not linked. If people don’t like the work they do there must be a reason. They may be doing it because they don’t have a choice; because they have to food on their table. Or, as George W. Bush puts it “it is every American’s right to put foot on their family”. We needed a slight comic break there because this is not an easy subject to digest. The reality is that most people work because they need to feed their family and pay the rent and one has to respect that. Loving your work, finding purpose in what you do, is a real privilege. One cannot role down the window at an intersection and ask the poor person begging on the street there what their purpose is. That would be disrespectful. People who are desperate are not thinking of purpose. They are thinking about survival.

But, in these hard and fast times most people I seem to encounter only go on about money and more money. Seems that looking for purpose in a pay-cheque is not that important in these times of hedge funds and asset management. So, I guess we could summarize and say that there are 3 kinds of people in the world: those who understand the numbers, and those who don't.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker