What’s your kind of fuel?

Fear runs deep in our genes. The discipline master walking around tapping a thick bamboo cane on his feet. Or the manager doing his rounds, inspecting the work that you do. It doesn’t take long for us to get our act together in the presence of fear.

Anger could also be fuel to pull all-nighters, build companies and amass wealth. The founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian was told by Yahoo that his company’s traffic was “a rounding error”. He framed it up, hang it on the wall and looked at it all day.

As Jim Denthmer pointed out that there are not one, not two but five things that can motivate us. And they are all equally powerful. They are fear, extrinsic rewards (money/status), intrinsic reward (meaning/purpose), play and love.

It’s entirely possible. Some of the very top professional are trafficking in play. The deal makers negotiating contracts. The athletes playing sports. The coders writing algorithm. They are able to out-learn, out-work and out-last everyone because it’s fun to them, and work to you.

Perhaps if your fuel is hindering you from where you want to go, it’s time to look inside and choose a different kind.

(HT podcast interview on The Knowledge Project)

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