Winning the prize

Human motivation is hard to understand but some triggers are common. Altruism and the need to help others is the highest form of ourselves but difficult to sustain. A prayerful outlook helps, along with a deep practice of doing something meaningful. Do-gooders never lack self-motivation, even when they don’t have resources.

For the majority of the population, the bartering system of the global economy suffices —in order to maintain self-interest just enough to pay the bills on-time and hold onto a job. Being a world citizen is a birthright in itself, and most of us are happy to live another day.

For entrepreneurs, the greatest trigger of all is competition. Life is a game to be won. Business is about maximizing return on investment. Let the best ideas win. The winner-take-all system favors the smartest guys in the room. Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists want to solve business problems, first and foremost. Real problems are set aside quickly when short-term rewards are hard to forecast. It’s a lot easier to make money on games like March Madness than trying to fix public schools.

March madness

There’s nothing wrong in incentivizing everything we do in order to get a shot at the prize. Everything is becoming gamified or scored in one way or the other, and the millennial crowd thrives in these systems.

What I worry about is the lack of attention towards solving real problems. We need more prize-laden competitions to encourage giving back.



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