Motivation, incentives, perfectionism, fear

So this Daniel Pink Ted talk has been under my skin for awhile.  he talks about the “Puzzle of Motivation”  But what he said didn’t resonate with me.

Also had a discussion W Aza Raskin awhile back about how to rewards Open Source Programmers and Incentives.  Mozilla offered a bounty for programmers which had adverse results.  I had seen this personally happen repeatedly with NPOs when I was on the board of  Money did not match the motivation levels needed.  It was improper feedback.

And then finally after having multiple discussions with my housemate about childrearing…

Where the first chapter is about not telling Children they are simply smart.  But instead always pointing to specific actions as being clever or smart or good.  This again feeds back to yesterday’s post about gamification.  And correctly targeting the feedback.  If you tell a child they are smart it actually hurts them.  Kinda also explains my basic dislike of people telling me I’m smart or I’m pretty – those have nothing to do with my actions.  Yet I enjoy it when someone says I loved “such and such idea.”

I think our real purpose is to encourage/reward actions.  If this is true then we should focus on those actions we desire.  Since they are specific we can do more feedback directly.

So this all reflects on my own issues in regards perfectionism and procrastination.  I believe I over commit so that I have an excuse for things not being perfect.  If I don’t I tend to suffer from procrastination.  See I was often told how smart I was rather than specific actions.  This those expectations means fear of obtaining perfection sets in and that is the stubborn seed of procrastination.  It’s a difficult one to remove (i think my whole work ethic got wrapped up in there too somewhere.)

I also believe that fear kills creativity by sending people into their Lizard Brain.  See if it isn’t MY project, I have tons of suggestions and can see all… But if it is mine, I become too set and myopic.  That is why I now prefer to “midwife” other people’s ideas.  I have prerequisites that is true in regards to my goals but for the most part it must be someone else’s baby.  Then I can be most effective.  At least until I solve this perfectionism issue…  And can close this stupid Bad feedback loop.

I have noticed that other Big Corporations (cough MS cough) often tend to suffer from the same issues of broken expectations and feedback.  Since they measure their employees in such constrained and artificially constructed manners they have a very negative impact on creativity and performance.   The goal becomes the broken metric and not the motivation.  I wish more people read The 5th Discipline. I believe this type of process is essential for fixing metrics and finding more meaning in measurement by addressing issues in perspective and motivation.

Personally, I think for me and my ideas… I need to create more small doable tasks.  Creating bullet style lists and figure a way for me to obtain the praise and criticism I desire.  You know that action specific kind I was just talking about…

Once I have all my concepts ironed out I can start with more solid concepts than I had before and perhaps with the proper feedback I can leave the fears of perfectionism and rigidity behind and retrain my brain so it doesn’t go all Lizard on me.

And @ItCHe (corrected) thanks for the reminder to finish this languishing post with your link yesterday.