Is Money The Strongest Motivator?
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word motivation as, “a force that creates stimulus, influence, incentive or drive; to provide with a motive.” In layman’s terms, this basically means something or someone who gives you a reason to work your ass off. Motivation is important, powerful, and we all need it in our lives.
For a long time, it was commonly thought that money was the most powerful motivator. People went to work and did a good job in order to be paid a fair wage. If they worked hard and long enough, that wage would increase, giving them additional motivation. It was a full circle concept where Money = Motivation, Motivation = Work and Work = Money.
While this concept seems solid, the truth of the matter is that many people don’t necessarily consider money to be the top motivator at all. Obviously, money is a major factor in their choice to work, but beyond that, other incentives are often more important when it comes to stimulating their work ethics and increasing their job productivity. So, what motivates more than money?
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur and motivational speaker.
Even in today’s age of time-saving technologies, many people are acutely aware of how their time is being spent. From Hollywood movies and songs to sappy cards and print media, people are constantly being reminded by society at large to make wise use of their time. Because life quickly passes us by, with or without money, many people agree that being rewarded with or given time away from their jobs to do what they love is a major motivation.
“Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.” – Benjamin Franklin
Happiness as a motivator may sound cliché, but you can’t argue with truth. People want to be genuinely happy in their lives and often, this means making a choice between doing something they love and making a few more bucks a week. If employers truly want the very best performance out of a person, their best bet is to hire people who are happy with their jobs, and then keep them happy, plain and simple.
“Money will buy you a fine dog, but only love can make it wag its tail” – Richard Friedman, professor & scholar
Having a lot of money is great, but people need more than just money to satisfy their lives and motivate them to accomplish more. In fact, some of the most ingenious entrepreneurs have stated that a desire for recognition of their accomplishments was what drove them out from under the confines of a corporate company and into the limitless arena of entrepreneurship. While it may not be feasible to recognize every outstanding employee and acknowledge each of their accomplishments, it is extremely dangerous not to try at all.
“You have not lived a perfect day, even though you have earned your money, unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” – Ruth Smeltzer, author
Charities and not-for-profit organizations all across the globe have long understood the concept that goodwill trumps money as a form of motivation. From highly-paid doctors volunteering their services pro bono to sick children in third world countries, to celebrities and wealthy business owners writing six-figure checks to support worthy causes, people love being a part of anything that makes a positive difference in the world.
#5. Challenge & Movement
“The greatest thing in the world is not so much where we stand, but in what direction we are moving.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, poet & American author
Stagnant water stinks, and stagnant people accomplish very little in their life. Everyone needs to be challenged, pushed and encouraged to broaden their horizons further than ever before. While promotions often come with a raise in pay, it is often the new position, new responsibilities and excitement of change that is the true motivation. Companies that embrace this concept and provide adequate opportunities for challenge and movement within their employee base find that they consistently have groups of workers who think outside the box, ask for more responsibilities and stretch beyond the limits of their “job description.”
While fair compensation for work is necessary, it is not always the strongest motivator. Those driven by money often develop very selfish and self serving attitudes, diminishing their ability to be a team player, and the relationship that develops between an individual and his work is strictly out of necessity… and very little else. On the other hand, those who are motivated from a deeper source tend to commit to their work with a passion and a pride that is invaluable.
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