Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sharing Nugget #36

#36: Intrinsic, not extrinsic motivation please.

This is an excerpt from an email from a friend. I think it is solid.

The Story of the 8 Monkeys

Put eight monkeys in a room. In the middle of the room is a ladder, leading to a bunch of bananas hanging from a hook on the ceiling.

Each time a monkey tries to climb the ladder, all the monkeys are sprayed with ice water, which makes them miserable. Soon enough, whenever a monkey attempts to climb the ladder, all of the othermonkeys, not wanting to be sprayed, set upon him and beat him up.

Soon, none of the eight monkeys ever attempts to climb the ladder.

Then one of the original monkeys is then removed, and a new monkey is put in the room. Seeing the bananas and the ladder, he wonders why none of the other monkeys are doing the obvious. But undaunted, he immediately begins to climb the ladder.

All the other monkeys fall upon him and beat him silly. He has no idea why. However, he no longer attempts to climb the ladder.

A second original monkey is removed and replaced. The newcomer again attempts to climb the ladder, but all the other monkeys hammer the crap out of him.

This includes the previous new monkey, who, grateful that he's not on the receiving end this time, participates in the beating because all the other monkeys are doing it. However, he has no idea why he's attacking the new monkey.

One by one, all the original monkeys are replaced. Eight new monkeys are now in the room. None of them have ever been sprayed by ice water.

None of them attempt to climb the ladder. All of them will enthusiastically beat up any new monkey who tries, without having any idea why.

Sounds familiar? Do for the sake of doing? Because it is "Company Policy"? Because it is "how we do things around here"? Is this why the phrase "thinking out of the box" is coined? Is the "box" the cubicle?

This story reminds me of the disease that encamps itself in a rigid hierarchical organization. This is a disease that is as ugly as power struggles and political games. In a rigid set-up, the monotony and the mundune drains the spirit. I have seen and heard too many cases. These people are boxed up in their comfort zones, are building fortresses that really keep themselves in rather than keep 'extra work' out, and are allowing the disease to consume their lives.

They are stuck in a vicious cycle: i am unhappy with work, i spend more on entertainment, so i need more money, then i have to work harder to get that promotion to earn more, then i am more unhappy, so i need even more money for entertainment, so... it goes on and on.

I pray I will never catch the disease. I pray I can do something I like as a living. I pray that my motivation will always come from within, not from external reward. So its intrinsic, not extrinsic motivation please.


Post a Comment

<< Home