Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Book report: Why We Do What We Do

General Overview
            The book I chose to read was “Why We Do What We Do”, by Edward L. Deci. This book dives into the typical thoughts about motivation, and the author begins to explain how people are motivated to lead to success. According to Deci, there are two types of motivation and one will make the person more successful over the other. The main focus of the book is on autonomous motivation, which will make the person more successful. Autonomous motivation allows a person to feel like they are doing it for themselves which will lead to greater success. This book was a tough read because of all the psychological wording that could be confusing. It is full of information which will change anyone’s views on the correct way of motivation and what is more beneficial.

Favorite Part
            My favorite part of the book was chapter one. Deci begins to explain whether a person’s behavior is autonomous or forced by rewards they may be given. He breaks down the aspects of these actions, and explains how one may resent a life they are forced to do. I didn’t know about these two types of motivation which made this chapter especially interesting to learn about. The example he states in this chapter is a person dieting. He found people who are self-motivated have a better success story than those who are pressured by the environment. It was interesting to see this, because I do have to agree. People who have self-will to lose weight usually do it so much easier than those who a doctor may tell them to lose weight. This chapter gave a lot of insight which I really enjoyed.

            “Why We Do What We Do”, really related to a lot of the slides we went over in class. There were many things that was very similar. The main thing that I think correlates is the extrinsic and intrinsic incentives. One thing we know is that extrinsic incentives can play a negative effect on intrinsic motivation. There was one example in the book about a guy named Ryan who is going to a school to become a lawyer when he figures out his real love is with film. He doesn’t want to focus on being a lawyer anymore like his parents had forced, so they state if he doesn’t they will not pay his tuition anymore. This makes him go to school just for the reward of free tuition. He does find a way around this, but this is the way many people are treated and they lose that inner flame and desire to do something they love. This is people ruining their intrinsic motivation.

            Currently I am employed as a counselor at a special needs day camp. Many of these kids do not listen to daily tasks, which is when we try to either reward them if they do or punish them if they do not. By reading this book I have learned that this may not be the best option, and it may be easier if we let the class as a whole decided what activity they would like to do. We try to keep them on a daily schedule, but if we allowed some flexibility throughout the day, the participation and effort in the tasks may go up without a reward or punishment.

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