What's one of the WORST ways to motivate someone? Hint: You see it all the time.

TRUE or FALSE: The best way to motivate a certain behavior in someone is simply to reward them for it.


False. Well, kind of.

Of course, it's not entirely that simple. The ideal motivation depends on what kind of task you're trying to get someone to accomplish. Author Daniel Pink cites a couple studies that prove this whole motivation thing is a lot more complicated than we thought. Let's take a look.

The experiment: Give people different levels of cash rewards to perform various tasks.


Seems pretty straightforward, right? People were asked to memorize numbers, solve crosswords, play basketball — all sorts of stuff. And they were promised cash rewards as motivation. Money money money money! So, what happened?

The result: For any tasks that called for cognitive skill, higher pay resulted in poorer performance.

Say WHHAAAAATTT!? Yep. As long as the task involved only mechanical skill, bonuses worked as expected: higher pay = better performance. But as soon as the task called for cognitive skill, bonuses worked in the opposite way: higher pay = poorer performance.

OK, well then how do you motivate people to perform those tasks that do require thought?

Daniel Pink says the answer here lies in three fancy buzzwords: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

First, you gotta pay people enough that money is no longer an issue. Then they can actually focus on the work at hand. That's where autonomy (our desire to be in charge of our own lives), mastery (our desire to get better at stuff), and purpose (our desire to make a difference) come into play.

Purpose is kind of the kicker here. We all want to make the world a better place. Maybe the thing standing in the way of us making a better world is just the outdated way we think about motivation. How about that carrot for thought?

"If we start treating people like people, and not assuming that they're simply horses ... if we get past this kind of ideology of carrots and sticks and look at the science, I think we can actually ... make our world just a little bit better."

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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