What Drives Us? Thoughts on Human Behaviors in a Digital World

I write regularly in the tech space with a focus on digital and analytics. It fascinates me that a mix of binary numbers and human behaviors can predict what we like, what we buy, what we do, where we’ll go, where we’ll live, how we pay for goods and services, and the list goes on. We know all the acronyms – AI, AR, VR, BI, EHR, etc. – an eye chart for this data driven world we live in.

But, there is a flipside as well.  The rise of the maker space, the freelance economy, the return of the ‘mom and pop’ store with a twist. So, I began to wonder: If data drives business and helps executives make better business decisions, what drives us?

I’m not a marketer or psychologist. But, I am a storyteller, a writer, and it’s my job to pay attention to people. We are an amalgam of what we see, who we speak to, and our attitude to life – nature vs nurture at its height. But, whichever camp you find yourself in, the desire to know remains. What drives us?

Money and Success? Maybe.

Core concepts, I imagine are money and success. But, I think there’s something deeper here at play. Yes, money is a motivating factor, but how you use it is just as important.

Consider the philanthropist, the doctor without borders, the bank with a heart (yes, Virginia, it does exist), the teacher who teaches students to think not just study for a test, the farmer whose passion for life begins and ends with patience for the seeds he plants to nurture the world.

Friends, Family, and Freedom? Maybe.

In other words, work/life balance. Webinars, emails, and books abound on how to live a more carefree life without struggling for money. From the four-day work week to the ten books every successful business person reads to how to start your own business and enter the world of the freelance economy. I wonder sometimes if we should rethink the word “freelance” and its not because of the word “free”. Shocker, I know.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term freelance first came into English in the early 1800s. It was used to refer to a medieval mercenary who would fight for whichever nation or person paid them the most. That’s MOST, not LEAST – a far cry from the cheapest bid wins the contract, wouldn’t you say?

Believe it or not, this is not a jibe at the plethora of bidding sites. If I’ve learned one thing beyond ‘its not what you know, its who you know’ it’s this. How you say something is just as important as what you say and that means in your emails, your profiles, on your website, and in your materials. Whether we like it or not, we are a brand bound together in common cause no matter what motivational factor drives you.

Broad strokes and bird’s eye views cannot hope to pinpoint something as erratic as our motivations. Why? Because they change, just as we do, based on the time of our lives, who we are now, who we were, and where we want to be in future.

Have My Cake and Eat it, Too.

As for me, like most of us I suspect, I want to have my cake and eat it, too. A balanced blend of freedom, family, friends, money, and success. It’s funny, one thing does lead to another. Each step forward becomes a path.

The Ball is in Your Court: What motivates you?

Take your time, roll it around, and savor the taste. Take it out of the box and play with it. Throw it against a wall and see where it lands. Did I miss something? Do specific things motivate you?

 

 

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