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Aaron Moritz - The Bribe Mentality: Neglecting and Derailing Intrinsic Motivation

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"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." The Infinit Yes presents: The Bribe Mentality Neglecting and Derailing Intrinsic Motivation ♫ She sold her love to a modern man, 'cause solid currency's the hardest to love... [Daniel Pink] ...and so, the evidence- it's not even a close call in behavioral science that these 'if-then' rewards- if you do this, then you get that- they're terrible! They simply don't work. We have this 'carrot-and-stick' motivational system that's kind of like a technology, that has outlived its usefulness. We need to kind of update what we're doing. - Time for motivation 3.0? - Yeah. Intrinsically motivated action or "things we do because we get enjoyment from doing them" could well be described as joyful participation in life. Take a minute to think about the things in your life that you participate in joyfully. If you answered your job, you're in the minority. In fact, I couldn't find any statistics on how many people say they actually get enjoyment from their work. But I could find statistics on how many people were dissatisfied with their work, and it's over half. This often happens, even to people who are able to actually get jobs doing something they enjoy, because as a person is presented with extrinsic motivating factors such as money, or even excessive praise or other positive reinforcement, whatever intrinsic motivation might have been present becomes seriously undermined as they lose their sense of authorship, authenticity and autonomy over what they are doing, and now must be baited for what earlier they would have done voluntarily. "Excessive extrinsic motivation" is actually a widely-recognized phenomenon in the entertainment business, where accusations of being a 'sell out' or 'just doing it for the money' are hurled regularly when a music artist signs a deal with a major record label and the music quality slumps, or a filmmaker makes a particularly high- budget film. And this is not to say that quality necessarily depletes as rewards increase. Many well-paid people display outstanding talents; there's no denying that. But, as the 'bribe' so to speak, is accepted, the person's self-motivated interest often wanes and fizzles out. Now 'bribe' may seem like a strong word. After all, when we think of bribes we usually think of corrupt police officers or the Mafia, so why then would I refer to voluntary payments for actions willingly performed as bribery? Well, Webster's Dictionary defines bribery as "money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust." And since, to quote Alfie Kohn, "One of the most thoroughly researched findings in social psychology is that the more you reward someone for doing something, the less interest that person will tend to have in whatever he or she was rewarded to do," we see that we cannot have rewards without them functioning as bribery. Even if it is unintended, a reward is, by design, an attempted manipulation of another person's behavior. When we are talking about money- the reward we give for most forms of social participation- we must recognize that being deprived of this reward is life-threatening, and so the bribe for participating in our society is done virtually at gunpoint, functioning under the assumption that people are so apathetic, or so useless, that they must be threatened with mass deprivation i.e. 'being broke', before they will ever contribute to society. And it is only in functioning under this assumption that people have been conditioned to sometimes actually act that way. When bribed into action, one cannot joyfully participate in that action, nor can they gain any real happiness from the bribe itself. Money does not buy happiness, and affection given on a conditional basis will only serve to cheapen itself. So the rewards we are given don't even make us happy. OK, yes, everyone would be happier if they had enough money to live comfortably; nobody's arguing that. But once we get past that level, higher rewards do not equal happier people. In fact, the more possessions one has, has been shown to often negatively affect their stress levels, which makes sense because holding a mindset of constantly chasing extrinsic rewards is one of always being one step behind, always unfulfilled, every step you take up that ladder. But so what if we aren't joyful or fulfilled, maybe people don't like it as much and maybe they don't want to do it as much; but aren't people just plain more productive in a society when they are chasing rewards? Actually: No. In study after study the results say that after a certain reasonably low level of income further reward has absolutely no effect on the productiveness of people who are doing work that requires even rudimentary thinking skills. Once our basics needs are met, people who get paid more do not perform better and in many cases often perform worse. The only thing money is good at motivating is mindless, repetitive drone work that could just as easily been done by trained monkeys, or, more realistically, robotics technology. It is an absolute insult to the progress of humanity and the history of human achievement that we allow our brothers and sisters to continue to be subjected to the needless imposition of this kind of mindless menial labor, when we have the technology to move beyond it. Of course, that is not to say that there is no work to be done, but working towards a society that actually takes care of its inhabitants is something that I think we could all joyfully participate in. When I ask people all over our planet, in my work, to think of something they did, recently, that enriched somebody's life, and anybody can usually think of it, although it takes a while because we, everyday, do so many things that do that. It's so part of us that we don't think of it, you know. We give verbal greetings that are designed to connect in a pleasant way with people; we cook meals for people. We do it-... touch them in ways that nourish. So very often it takes a while before people can answer this question, but then they get something in mind that they've done for somebody in the last 24 hours. Now I say "Focus your attention on how you think that enriched their life in terms of their needs. What needs of theirs were met? How do you think that left them feeling?" And when people start to imagine that, you can see a beam come out on their face and their eyes. And I say "How do you feel right now, when you realize that you did something that had that impact on people?" And people say "I feel good, I feel happy, I feel delighted." Then I ask them this question "Do any of you know anything that's more fulfilling, than to do that, to use the power we have in a way that contributes to people's well-being?" I've asked that question all over the planet, and nobody has ever said to me "If you get a Lexus that's better" or... if you get these culturally-induced rewards, that that's better. No! People say, the most fulfilling thing is to contribute to people's well-being. Well, that's play then! That's the most enjoyable play that we human beings engage in: to contribute to people's well-being. Now sometimes that play can involve hard work, because I may work very hard to do something that contributes to people's well-being. Sometimes I travel a long way across the world to offer something to people that's enriched my life. But it's play when my full focus of attention is on why I'm doing it. I'm not doing it for money; I'm not doing it to get a positive report card. I'm doing it because [it's] something that has increased joy in my life. It's joyful to share it with others; it's a fun game. It's the most fun game I've ever found, contributing to people's well-being. I'm really confident it's the most fulfilling game we human beings will ever find. Social contributions must be freely and willingly given if we as a civilization are to reach our peak potential. By working to secure the integrity of society for all people, not just those with so-called monetary wealth, we create an environment which will truly nurture the inquisitive, productive, and giving qualities present in all people. We must stop competing for rewards that leave us unfulfilled and release a new culture of self-motivated collaborative advancement. The drive to move society to the next level is present within the population. Let's not stifle and insult that drive by assuming its actions are conditionally based on some superfluous reward. Human beings want to help. Let's let them! A resource-based economy does not use money, instead relying on intrinsic motivation removing the very basis for greed and corruption, allowing us to nurture each other and the planet. We can't fix problems using the thinking that caused them. For more information on a resource-based economy google 'The Zeitgeist Movement' and 'The Venus Project' Thanks for watching! www.theinfinityes.com ♫ Get along for a while, citizen, you'll see How the innocent are bound to the damned What it is just is, I know, so we're trapped by answers Love haunts to the end From the moment that we're born 'Til we're old and tired out, do we ever know people? From the moment that we're born 'Til we're old and tired out, do we ever know people? 'Citizen' from the Album 'Broken Bells'

Video Details

Duration: 11 minutes and 21 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Producer: Aaron Moritz
Director: Aaron Moritz
Views: 130
Posted by: ltiofficial on Jan 9, 2013

"Punishment and reward proceed from basically the same psychological model, one that conceives of motivation as nothing more than the manipulation of behavior." -Alfie Kohn

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