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The 3 Layers of Motivation Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

The 3 Layers of Motivation

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Dan Pink and Ryan & Deci are quoted a lot when we talk about motivation – I include myself in that and this is good – they have a lot of research to back up everything they say.

The basic quote usually revolves around. Money is not a good motivator. Mastery, Purpose, Autonomy and in some quoted cases Relate­dness are what we need. They are intrinsic motiva­tors, money is not.

There are a few things most fail to mention. One is the fact that this is most true for creative tasks. The other, much more signif­icant bit they don’t mention is this. When basic needs, such as money, are no longer a concern – what’s left is intrinsic motivation



Think about your job for a moment. Most go to work for one reason, to earn money. Money leads to security. It provides you shelter, it keeps your family safe, it provides food for you all. Before money and jobs and the like, this was all much more primal. You secured your family by physically protecting them. You hunted for food and you built shelters. Now, this is all handled for most by getting money. We don’t need to hunt or build huts for ourselves, we buy all of those things. If we extrap­olate that and take a look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs again, we see the most base motiva­tions for humans are physio­logical needs and safety­/se­curity.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

When we have security covered, then the other levels of motivation can play a greater role for us. In the case of working and jobs, this is when we are secure in our role and money is no longer a concern. We have enough to be comfor­table. I am not talking about millions, but enough to not have to think twice about buying cloths and food for your family, with maybe enough left over for a few luxuries. If we have that, then we begin to look for the next level of motiva­tion.


Once these base needs and motiva­tions are satisfied, then we can focus on the other more emotional motiva­tions, which this is where RAMP starts to come in. Our need for relate­dness, autonomy, mastery, purpose, status, friendship etc.


Finally, we can look at the trivial things. More money than we need to survive, bonuses and other types of extrinsic rewards. In gamifi­cation things like points, badges, leader­boards, compet­itions, prizes etc.