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A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Money Doesn't Buy Happiness, But You Need Happiness to Make Money

July 9, 2013, 12:00 AM

Let's say you are the kind of person who thinks all you really want is money. In other words, what is the single, motivating factor in your career? To make a lot of money, you answer.

Robert Kaplan is not one to argue with you. However, in the video below, Kaplan says that you need to make sure that whatever job you pick provides you with enough intrinsic motivators in order to enjoy your job long enough to reach your goal.

What's the Big Idea?

Kaplan, a professor at Harvard Business School and the author of What You're Really Meant to Do: A Roadmap for Reaching Your Unique Potential, explains the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Money is extrinsic, and measurable. You can count how much money someone has. You can also observe what someone's title is, or what their status is. But visible accomplishments like the accumulation of wealth take time. 

As Kaplan explains in the video below, extrinsic motivators "tend to be back-end loaded, they tend to be delayed." And so, as Kaplan points out, we need short-term rewards. 

Intrinsic motivators, on the other hand, are things like the amount of interest you take in your work, the belief you have in your mission, and the satisfaction you can derive from your work, which may even be enjoyed along with your peers. We need these types of pay-offs as well, Kaplan says, if we hope to "do something at a sustainable level of success for a long period of time."

And Kaplan says most people need to work on their intrinsic motivations. After all, these are much harder to measure and the only person who knows whether you are actually feeling fulfilled at what you do, is you. 

Watch here:

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Money Doesn't Buy Happiness...

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