in Politics, Wandsworth

What motivates people

I have been a rubbish blogger recently. In my defence the dream of mainly working from (a small) home hasn’t been so dreamlike since the birth of our second child! The result has been that a lot has had to suffer, including this blog. I want to, and will, keep it going, but why? What motivates me? It takes time, generates no income and – while undoubtedly a good thing for someone who’s elected to do – is not essential and I’m first to admit is ignored by far more Wandsworth residents than read it!

I came across this video from the RSA the other day, and was struck by the relevance of it to, well, pretty much anything but particularly the Big Society and Wandsworth Challenge, so it wasn’t that surprising a day later when I read about exactly the same research in Jesse Norman’s book Big Society!

The crux of it is that money is not the motivator it is often thought to be. Once comfortable, other things drive us more (one of the examples used is why on earth anyone would want to play a musical instrument as a hobby, since it brings no income only cost). The research suggests that these are:

  1. Autonomy: The freedom to do things without direction or compulsion
  2. Mastery: The ability to gain proficiency in an activity
  3. Purpose: A reason, a calling, for doing something

All of these are available from the Big Society and the Wandsworth Challenge. People will have the freedom (autonomy) to run services or schemes that benefit their neighbourhoods (purpose) and, of course, the right to run them as well as they can (mastery).

It’s a classic example that there’s more to life than money, and as most people forced to play a musical instrument as a child will testify, it’s a lot more enjoyable when compulsion is replaced with voluntary desire.

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