Which Motivational Method Is Best? The Whip, The Carrot Or The Internal Method.

What is Carrot and Stick Motivation (and What’s a Better Way)

To be motivated, we either need a whip from behind or the enticement of a carrot from the front. I don’t know about you, but I’d choose the carrot time and time again.

Which Motivational Method Is Best? The Whip, The Carrot Or The Internal Method.

But maybe there is a better way.

I must admit that throughout the years the carrot was represented to me as the dream that I pursued – along with the rewards that I gave myself all the way towards its achievement. Little by little – rewarded each step of the way – I possessed my dreams and remained highly motivated and highly rewarded, particularly by me.

But again – is there a better way than even the carrot method?

Let’s explore the three methods that I have participated in and see which has the greatest lasting power when it comes to sustained motivation.

  1. The Whip Method

When I think of the whip method the first word that springs to mind is ‘driven’. It creates images in my mind of the Israelite nation that spent 400 years in bondage to the mighty Egyptian nation until Moses turned up demanding, ‘Let my people go!’

They were a nation forced into slavery. Sure it lasted for four centuries, but ultimately the whole structure of society crumbled. And that is the nature of anything or anyone who is driven. They will sustain a certain rate of performance for a time, but there will come a period where they will either run out of steam, or rebellion will raise its ugly head.

That’s why in business, to drive your employees with a whip will ultimately result in disaster. Even if a parent drives their children with a whip it is breeding place for rebellion. This is why dictatorships never last. The whip method has a short life span compared to other methods when it comes to the sustainment of motivation.

  1. The Carrot Method

Through the years I have used this method to motivate myself. It is all about reward for effort. It includes celebration as part of your whole ‘moving forward’ strategy.

But even it is flawed if a bigger carrot needs to be unveiled to draw the participant towards the dream.

I remember being part of a business organization that continually threw out challenges that resulted in cruises and fancy holidays if you attained certain sales goals. But for most of us involved, the goals were so high and unattainable that after a while the carrot grew stale and people drifted away in droves.

The other revealing feature about those who actually secured the carrot, I noticed that it wasn’t long before most of those attainees lost their motivation once the carrot had finally been grasped. Motivation’s sustainment seemed short lived using the carrot method.

  1. The Internal Method

Although the whip and the carrot method achieve some results, when it comes to providing motivation, the method that I have personally found has a much more lasting effect is the pursuit and the development of your passion.

First, you need to identify your passions, and this can at times take some time to discover.

Second, you need to pursue your passion with a plan in place to fulfill it.

Third, you need to apply consistent and persistent effort in the outworking of your passion.

But the defining difference between passion, or the internal method as I call it, and both the carrot and the whip method is that the motivation is now rising up from within the deepest parts of your being, and not externally.

In Summary

From personal experience, the whip method applied to my life has generally lasted weeks and maybe months at most.

The carrot method has sustained me for years.

But the internal method has sustained me and my motivation now for decades, and I’m more passionate than ever about pursuing my passion with a passion.

Daily I am expressing my uniqueness by doing what I love to do, and it is internally generated – thus sustainable.

What are you passionate about and how are you going about sustaining your motivation?