Creative Fire: Drive

                                               photo by raceytay

My husband is reading a book that interests me: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, written by Daniel Pink.  Pink became well known for "A Whole New Mind," his 2005 best-selling book in which he made the bold statement that right-brainers -- people who are strong in qualities such as empathy, storytelling and inventiveness -- will rule the future. So, naturally, I like the way he thinks!

The introduction explains the meaning behind the title “Drive.”  The first drive is biological. It is the most basic and primitive and includes the need for food, drink, shelter and basic survival. The second drive is more external; reward and punishment. This is where psychologists, managers and parents have spent most of their time. But then, when a group of monkeys started playing with puzzles with enjoyment and focus, scientists realized that there might be another drive in all of us. This third drive is focused on the pure joy of performing the task. Pink explores all the different ways that this third drive expresses itself and the results both people and organizations achieved when they opened themselves up to this third drive.

                                             earrings by Markhed

I’ve been thinking long and hard about the case he makes that if you get stuck seeking short term rewards you can extinguish your internal motivation, ie, the joy of working. In his list of the flaws of short term rewards, Pink includes that they can crush creativity and that they can become addictive.

Selling is a short term reward on Etsy. Our number count goes up, we get a short feature on Pounce. There is a momentary high. Making the Front Page is a short term reward. Having one’s treasury make the Front Page is a short term reward. Each produces a feeling of accomplishment, of exhilaration. While I'm not leaping to the conclusion that we need 12 step support groups for treasury and front page addicts, I am asking myself if the joy of creating my pottery is still greater than the thrill of seeing the image of it on Etsy’s front page. I also monitor for myself how much custom order work, which is inherently less creative, is okay for me to take before the actual fun gets sucked out and replaced by my sales +1. Now that creative types are predicted to rule the future, I don’t want to miss my chance! I’ve started experimenting with new glazes in the middle of the holiday sales blitz just to keep my priorities straight.

                                         ring by onegarnetgirl

Are you having fun today?

by Lee Wolfe/ OneClayBead


Monica said...

Wonderful thought provoking post.

I love that you are trying out some new glazes right now to keep the creativity flowing!

Marie said...

what a fascinating post, I find the subject of drive so interesting! Thanks for your thoughtful writing, Lee!

Genevieve said...

This is comforting really. I've sometimes thought I was irresponsible for trying out new ideas (playing) during the Christmas shopping season or in the middle of filling a wholesale order. But if I don't play...I'll just stop all together. I know it.

GarnetGirl said...

I've experienced the same thing. Amidst a rush of orders I have new wax carved settings in progress, and ideas sketched out under my a pile of gemstones. The desire to get the idea out is what keeps the fire alive, I suppose! Getting a good reaction to new ideas is even more addicting- no matter how busy I may be. So good to hear other people feel the same!
Thank you for posting this Lee!

steinschmuckdesign said...


helen said...

Wonderful, thought provoking post! Sounds like a book I need to add to my list. Left brainers seem to be "ruling the world" right now. I hope this person is correct that the right brain thinkers will have their day. Great post! Thank you Lee!