I'm currently reading Daniel H. Pink's book "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us." I'm still in the first section, but I've already learned a lot.

Its premise is straightforward: There is a "third drive" distinct from the drive to meet basic human needs (first drive) and the reward-maximizing drive (second drive). For the sake of brevity, we'll refer to these as Motivation 1.0 and 2.0.

Motivation 2.0 is based on an if-else heuristic in which a specific action is rewarded or punished by an equivalent reward or punishment, such as grades, wages, and so on. Traditional workplace compensation is still heavily based on the outdated notion that more rewards equal more productive output (or more punishment means fewer churn).

In practice, this setup does indeed improve performance for mechanical and simple tasks. However, when it comes to creative tasks, the opposite is true. Putting monetary rewards on creative tasks, for example, lowers the performance of the artist, as if putting a monetary value on their craft limits their creative freedom. This phenomenon is not explained by either Motivation 1.0 or 2.0. As a result, the book contends that there is an irrational drive capable of subduing the rational if-else-centric second drive. This third drive seeks an intrinsic rather than an extrinsic reward.

This reminded me of some projects I worked on. When I'm only concerned with the monetary reward of a website I'm working on, I tend to perform poorly. However, when I don't expect or focus on the compensation, I tend to enjoy my work more and produce work that I'm proud of internally. This is certainly irrational, because who doesn't want more money?

This is also something I notice when considering starting a new side project that may or may not be profitable in the long run. My rational second drive informs me that it is a waste of time and energy because it is not profitable. My irrational third drive, on the other hand, tells me otherwise. It tells me that trying something new is exciting, and I might regret it more if I don't. The second drive, I believe, is a rational overthinking pragmatist, while the third drive is an irrational hopeful optimist.

As a result of reading the book, I came to the realization that starting a long-term creative endeavor, such as creating an art account or YouTube channel, requires the third drive. Thus, expecting money hinders performance and undermines long-term progress. Putting a monetary value on creative projects undermines creative freedom. To achieve it in the long run, the book suggests focusing on the intrinsic joy that comes from expressing your creativity.

I learned from the book that it is not always necessary to focus on external gains. To be happier and more productive in the long run, we must also embrace our own humanity, especially the irrational part of ourselves.