What Motivates Your Work: Money, Love, or Passion?


When we hear about Lionel Messi, our minds would soon think about soccer. Why? Because we know that Messi is the best soccer player in the world. He dedicates his life to soccer. He was born to be a soccer player. Soccer has given an identity to Messi. Similarly, when we hear about Michael Jackson, our minds certainly think about singing or dancing. Why? Because we know that MJ is the King of Pop. He sings and dances very well. He was born to be a musical artist. Music has been his identity.

Our work should give us identity. People will know who we are from what kind of work we do. Some people even said that our work is our worship. Work is an essential part that can not be separated from our lives. When we are not in work for a long time, we may feel useless or meaningless. In fact, how great our performance in work is strongly influenced by our motivation inside. Therefore, it is important to think about what actually motivates our work.

As we all have already known, there are three levels of motivation in work:

1. Money

money dolarMany people said, “Money is not everything, but everything needs money.” People might think that in order to enjoy life, all they need is money. Some people are willing to do something they actually don’t really love to do as long as they can earn much money from it. As we know about the common slogan said “high risk = high return”, some people are readily to work on a high-risk job for pursuing high amount of money. Some people are trying to enjoy working at some fields that are totally incompatible with their talents or dreams. In the most extreme case, some people are even ‘selling’ their bodies in order to be rich as we can see from the ‘success story’ of some famous porn actors or actresses. Sometimes I wonder how come people willingly do something they don’t actually wanna do? Let’s think about this: if, for example, being a janitor could make you rich since it was the highest-paid job in the world, are you still going to do that job anyway even though you don’t really love it?

2. Love

love coinPeople work for love, either to give or to receive it. We can see the examples from a family’s life. A father works very hard to show love for his children and wife. When we were children, sometimes we did something to please our parents, to get their approval, to receive their love. We were happy when our parents gave us compliment. Honestly, as human beings, we (sometimes or many times) expect someone to love and appreciate our works. Some people are even hunger for the others’ acknowledgement. Otherwise, we would get upset if someone underestimated or rejected our works. Interestingly, love is like an energy. It can not be created or destroyed, but can change form. We can see sometimes love can turn into hatred. That’s why it is not enough to build our work’s motivation based on love because situation can easily change and people can easily be disappointing. We might face a lot of situations that challenge us to stand firm for our love. (Note that here I’m talking about the ‘worldly’ definition of love).

3. Passion 

dove fireI believe that passion is the deepest level of motivation in work. Passion is our energy that will significantly enhance our work productivity. Working with passion means doing our job wholeheartedly and enthusiastically. In its original word, enthusiasm derived from the Greek enthousiasmos (means: having the God within), which ultimately came from the adjective entheos, formed from en (in, within) and theos (God). I, personally, believe that passion originally comes from God, the Creator. Therefore doing everything with ‘passion’, doing everything with ‘enthusiasm’, and doing everything with ‘great excitement from God’ are all the same. That’s why it is crucial to clearly find out our passion. The better we know our passion, the better we understand ourselves. Understanding our passion also means knowing the reason why we are created here on earth. Passion will make us unstoppable. We would keep doing the best in work regardless of other people are watching or not. We are willing to do our work sincerely no matter how much money we would get. Only with passion will we eventually find the real happiness and satisfaction in work.


Which one is driving your motivation in work now?

  1. Money? Then you would probably sacrifice your love (dreams or talents) and passion (purpose or identity).
  2. Love? Then you would probably struggle for making more money yet still get confused with your identity.
  3. Passion? Then love and money would eventually follow you.

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