Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ego-deficit disorder.

I had dinner tonight with some engaging and interesting people who happen to be clients.

I don't often go out with clients. In fact, this might be one of only two or three times in my career that I've gone out with clients without having an account person around to keep me from poking my eyes out with my fish fork. But tonight I went solo. And guess what? I not only survived, I had a decent time.

About half-way through dinner a thought started playing in my head. I'll try to work that thought out in front you--so bear with me.

There are two kinds of rewards we can get from work. One are the intrinsic rewards that derive from you knowing you have done your best and made a difference. The second are extrinsic rewards. These are rewards and awards that come from outside.

It seems to me that people who are satisfied by intrinsic rewards have an emotional sense of self, a confidence that allows them to analyze the validity of the job they've done and appreciate the effort they've expended. The satisfaction they feel comes from within. They don't need others to praise them. The praise they give themselves has enough heft.

People who satisfied by extrinsic rewards are, I think, less sure of themselves. They need their boss to applaud them. They need a cheap metallic artifact on their desk. They need laudatory loudness. They need their egos nourished by the outside because they can't feed their ego themselves.

If I had to go all macro on you, I'd say that too many people have been brought up who are constantly seeking praise. From childhood--when they needed to see their drawings hung on the refrigerator till today when they need to see their work gushed over.

This constant exaltation--from child childhood to adult childhood--has left many of us with out an internal praise-giving resource. This is an ego-deficit disorder. And is the reason behind our current mania for rating things with awards, stars, thumbs up and other sundry banalities.

1 comment:

jeff said...

I find people who are extrinsically motivated are more likely to admire their past works. While those intrinsically motivated look at their past works and say, "why are you showing me this old crap?"