Monday, January 4, 2010

If We Don't Motivate and Inspire Ourselves, Who Will? (aka What is MY Sentence?)

The course I am currently enrolled in as part of my journey towards an Ed.D. is on the topic of learning theories/adult learning/lifelong learning. As part of our class discussions last week, we were talking about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and what we can do to foster it in ourselves, our students, and our peers in our roles as educational leaders.

Early last year I read that had been on my list for some time, called A Whole New Mind, and I felt it crystalized many of the thoughts I have been having about changes that we are witnessing in society. It also addressed and supported my belief that our education system needs to be more personal for our students (and ourselves), and gave me great optimism about the future that my children are going to be living in as adults!  The book's author, Daniel Pink, connected his thoughts to my world, and I'm fortunate that I now have another chance to reflect on what he has to say.

Yesterday, I happened across a video Daniel Pink has posted on Vimeo, which is also related to a presentation I saw him give on TED a while back and to his new book. Motivation is the topic, and Pink's video from Vimeo, titled Two Questions That Can Change Your Life, are expertly addressed in a very entertaining way.

If you have ever spent time working in junior high school, then you have had many talks with students trying to find a way to motivate and inspire them to (force themselves to) learn what is going on in class.  I think the two questions Pink offers might help guide discussions on this topic in the future...

The Two Questions video is short, and embedded below. I dare you to watch it without thinking passionately about the future, or wondering how it might apply to someone you know, or even yourself!  While this sort of internal motivator may not appeal to everyone, it might be exactly what some people are looking for to give them a sense of focus that may have been missing before. When life gets busy, our priorities sometimes get shuffled to the side while we deal with other, ultimately less important, distractions. Fun as they may be!  Asking ourselves these two questions might be exactly what is needed to get back on track.

Inspiration aside, the second question is extremely practical too! Too many people set goals, ("I want to ...") and do not give thought to measuring their progress towards those goals. Giving thought to assessing your progress makes it far more likely that significant progress will occur!

Now, after watching that short video for inspiration, I have embedded Daniel Pink's talk from TED (July 2009) below too.  It is approximately 18 minutes long and my money says you will find this one very interesting too.  Watch it, and then do what I do. I'm going to buy the new book Drive!


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