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Monday, July 4, 2011

What Motivates You to Work?

Words by Francis Kahihu 

It is 4.00am and Peter’s alarm has just gone off. He has over the years perfected the schedule in the morning and without much thought, gets through the preparation for the day ahead. He takes a shower, dresses up, takes his quick breakfast and off he gets at 5 to the nearest bus stage. He has to pick a bus to the city centre by latest 5.30am otherwise he will have to contend with traffic jam for the following 3 hours. He has realized that by leaving his house by 5.00am, he spends atmost one hour to work and reports to work a less stressed worker as opposed to if he were to leave 15 minutes later. In the evening, he spends almost 2 hours through the traffic and gets home a truly fatigued person, ready to take a break in preparation for the following day.

Peter’s case can easily pass for most workers in the urban centers in the developing world. With the persistent traffic snarl-up and the unpredictable public transport, many people have to make with relatively difficult work conditions. But just what drives Peter and others like him to wake up that early, struggle through traffic and survive through the rigours of the workplace? What motivates him to look forward to the following day even when he knows so well that the day will be as strenuous as the previous one? The following could be the reason.

1: Socialisation: Many of us are people persons. We love being around people and would do anything within our limits to ensure we are as close to other people as possible. We cross barriers and overcome odds to present us to an environment where other people are. To many people, the workplace is the ideal opportunity to be with people. For such people, being away from work could be a cause of internal fears. They want to nurture the relationships with people around them and would hence overlook any challenges along the path.

2: Opportunities to lead: Other people are driven by passion for leadership. They are wired to be in charge. They generate heightened internal peace when they are in charge of projects, programs, organizations and companies and seek to fully undertake difficult tasks. Such people are always seeking for challenging opportunities to prove their leadership capacities. They find pleasure in delegating certain tasks and are buried in ‘everlasting’ joy when the project succeeds. To such a person, waking up at 4.00am is a pleasant opportunity as it allows him to get to work earlier to engage in the dream tasks.

3: Fear of losing the job: The third category of workers is that which is driven by fear of loss. Such people wake up early to work, not because they really want to leave the house but since they realize the negative consequences for not reporting early. To such people, leaving for work is one among the various things they would rather not do given an opportunity. This fear can be so much that they start planning for the evening events even before they report to work. The day’s engagement is one big interruption in their life only that they have to undertake the tasks for them to earn their livelihood.

4: Finally, there are those who are driven by the desire to serve society. To such people, rising to provide helpful service to others adds extra years to their life. The joy of the society become their joy and hence would circumvent all odds to be available to other people.


  1. Hi Kahihu,
    Well,the second one motivates me a lot because I like seeing my downline experiencing my ideas as the powering force of the firm I am running.
    Thanks for sharing such insightful article.

  2. Interesting comments Mading...let's keep chatting. Kahihu


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