Carrots or Sticks. What Really Motivates You? Updated 2011.

Published Tuesday, April 12, 2011 3:47 PM

When a deadline looms what gets your nose to the grindstone? Is it: A) the treat you promised yourself for a job well done, B) fear of the missed deadline's consequences, C) innate desire to master the task or D) all of the above?

Will it surprise you to learn there is no right answer? Experts agree that they cannot agree on what truly motivates an individual to achieve success or goals, be it weight loss or career advancement. Different tools and motivations work for different people at different times. We've gathered some interesting new reading on the matter of motivation. Read on and see which method clicks for you.

Carrots & Sticks

If you're in the carrots and sticks camp, you're a believer in incentives and rewards-carrots-balanced with punishments-sticks-for failure. Yale professor Ian Ayres, author of Carrots and Sticks: Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done, posits that "commitment contracts" can steer individuals to success by offering reward or punishments. Ayres crafts his academic outlook into an actionable, free web site that let's others in on the action. Visit to get started on successful goal-setting.


Author and speaker Dan Pink has made motivation his business. In his best-selling book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Pink argues that carrots and sticks are "so last century." Pink argues that while carrots and sticks can produce change, that in today's complex world they aren't enough to inspire creativity and transformation. Tapping into our drive-our innate desire to direct our own lives, experience autonomy and to connect to something that matters and inspires-produces the most meaningful change.

For more on Dan Pink, view his lively, engaging remarks at TED Talks here. 


How do you motivate yourself? Do you have any tips or strategies for long-lasting change or short-term motivation? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Bradley Eggers



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# Motivation to lose weight said on Sunday, April 08, 2012 7:49 AM

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