Does Money Motivate You?

Does Money Motivate You?

I previously wrote about the importance of finding your “why” when it comes to taking a sabbatical. 

Whenever you are doing something big and sort of scary, you need to know why you’re doing it. You also need to have motivation. Motivation is what will drive you to continue, even when it’s hard.

Recently, I read Drive by Daniel Pink. One of the most interesting questions he tackles in his book is: does money motivate people? More specifically, he examines the research about whether money motivates people and if this ultimately leads to happiness. 

According to Pink’s research, reaching a certain dollar value in savings shouldn’t increase my happiness at all. In fact, having a goal of saving a certain amount of money is not a “good” goal in that it won’t necessarily motivate me or increase my happiness.

However, when you dig down, my savings goal tied to my sabbatical and the time I’m spending focused on this goal is about much more than just the money.

When you think about it, my goal of reaching $100k in savings so I can take a sabbatical isn’t at all about the money. It’s about personal growth. It’s about what I’m doing over the next year to achieve my goal and what I’ll be doing the year after that with my time off.

To give you some insight on how else I plan to grow this year, here are some examples:

  1. My Health and Fitness: I’m a huge believer that exercise and nutrition greatly improve productivity. I’ve always been someone who works out. However, I recently completed a nutrition program. Focusing on eating the right amount of healthy food has significantly improved my day to day mood and productivity. (Plus, I’ve lost a few pounds, starting at an already healthy weight.)
  2. Side Income: I’m working on starting and growing several businesses. The goal of this is to create some of the side income needed to reach my $100k goal. But it’s also about finding fulfillment through work. These side projects allow me to make an impact and use parts of my brain that my day-to-day career doesn’t.
  3. Spiritually: This one is a question for me. While I was raised Catholic, I left the church many years ago and haven’t been a regular churchgoer in awhile. However, I strongly believe that having a spiritual practice is important to be fulfilled, even though this isn’t something I’ve fully explored.
  4. Mindfulness: This arguably fits into health/fitness and also spirituality. That said, I’m calling it out as its own growth point because I’m working on it. I started a gratitude journal last year, which has become part of my daily routine. Also, for about three months, I’ve been using the Headspace app. As someone whose mind is almost always going, I’m focusing on trying to be present in the moment and finding more joy in the day to day moments of life.

The Bottom Line

While saving $100k is the ultimate goal for taking a sabbatical year, earning and saving this money is not motivating in and of itself. The end goal of having more time to spend with my family, focus on side projects, and figure out what I want to do next in life is motivating. But what also keeps me going is the other areas I’m working on growing in for the next year.

What motivates you?

This post is part of our Sabbatical Sundays series. To read more, click here.