What Drives Us?

Fred Deutsch is a school board member in South Dakota who I’ve been reading at School-of-Thought for a while now. I am usually struck by how much the same things are for Fred in his district as they are for us in ours. He posted yesterday about a presentation he attended at a conference he’s at in DC. The presentation was by Daniel Pink about the three levels of what drives us.

I’m particularly interested because we sometimes  hear teachers or parents complaining that a child just isn’t motivated. Fred recounts the first two levels of drive and I completely agree with Pink’s assessment of those two followed by his thoughts here,

But it’s the third drive that Pink spent most of the session discussing with us — the concept that people will do things because it’s interesting, because people want to get better at it, or because people inherently want to make a difference in the world.

Go read Fred’s whole post for more information. The first two levels are certainly nice, but the third is what pushes me to do my best every day. How about you? How about our kids? As a teacher, don’t you strive to provide learning opportunities to students that are interesting or that help them see their place in the world or that allow them to improve with 21st century skills? Aren’t those the lessons that most “grab” every kid, pushing him to learn more intensely?

I wonder, perhaps Pink’s book Drive might be a great book study for those teachers thinking about focusing on motivation in their Professional Learning Networks next year?  I bet our teachers working together can figure it out for our kids, even for our most reluctant learners.

  1. After reading both your blog and Pink’s thoughts on drive, I know I am driven by many things in life. I am driven by people, emotions, God, and just pure instinct at times. Oddly enough, one overpowers the others at times. It all depends on what I am doing and the situation, this holds true I think for all people, except for the whole religious aspect. What are we driven to do in life? What is our true purpose? Who do we want to impact and inspire? Do we truly want to inspire people?

    Our carnal and rewards/punishments drives can be viewed as “selfish” drives. I myself at times see them that way and hope that I never let them stop there or overpower the third concept of drive. They are natural instincts. It is the third that makes up for the other two. I want to continue on with Pink’s third drive- “the concept that people will do things because it’s interesting, because people want to get better at it, or because people inherently want to make a difference in the world.” This concept is so powerful and impacts the lives of others in an abundant way!

    Being driven is great! Every day, I look forward to see what I will be driven to do. In the classroom, I am driven to see that my students get the best educational experience that I can give them- something that is genuine, full of energy, thoughtful, creative, and fair- all of me. It’s what they deserve. That is what I am driven to do and that is why I am an educator. If you show your students that you care, they will be driven themselves and it is a chain reaction. We truly do not know the full impact of our drive and we may never know or see it come to fruition. All you can do is stand in faith that you made an impact in their life. There are times when I see a student that may lack motivation, which pushes my drive to help them even more. That third concept steps into “overdrive” and takes over. It is because of Pink’s third concept and what I mentioned above that I am where I am today. My drive and someone else’s drive impacted me. I urge readers not to stop with the first two concepts of drive. You never know what your drive may do to someone else. Thank you to all that have driven me! : )

  2. Thanks for the link to Fred Deutsch. I’ve subscribed to his feed now thanks to your recommendation. I like to make a difference in this world and that’s what keeps me going everyday is those incremental differences that I/we can make. Keep going and keeping making a difference.

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