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Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness, But You Need Happiness to Make Money

Extrinsic motivators like status and money tend to be back-end loaded, they tend to be delayed. And so, as Robert Kaplan points out, we need short-term rewards. 

Let’s say you are the kind of person who thinks all you really want is money. In other words, what is the single, motivating factor in your career? To make a lot of money, you answer.

Robert Kaplan is not one to argue with you. However, in the video below, Kaplan says that you need to make sure that whatever job you pick provides you with enough intrinsic motivators in order to enjoy your job long enough to reach your goal.

What’s the Big Idea?

Kaplan, a professor at Harvard Business School and the author of What You’re Really Meant to Do: A Roadmap for Reaching Your Unique Potential, explains the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Money is extrinsic, and measurable. You can count how much money someone has. You can also observe what someone’s title is, or what their status is. But visible accomplishments like the accumulation of wealth take time. 

As Kaplan explains in the video below, extrinsic motivators “tend to be back-end loaded, they tend to be delayed.” And so, as Kaplan points out, we need short-term rewards. 

Intrinsic motivators, on the other hand, are things like the amount of interest you take in your work, the belief you have in your mission, and the satisfaction you can derive from your work, which may even be enjoyed along with your peers. We need these types of pay-offs as well, Kaplan says, if we hope to “do something at a sustainable level of success for a long period of time.”

And Kaplan says most people need to work on their intrinsic motivations. After all, these are much harder to measure and the only person who knows whether you are actually feeling fulfilled at what you do, is you. 

Watch here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


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