A Great Person is a Sentence

“Those Who Lead, Read” is a program set up by David W. Carter, Washburn’s Farley Visiting Professor of Ethics and Leadership. Each month in Topeka, a leader in the community gives a one-hour presentation centered around a book. 

David himself gave the first presentation, which centered around the book “I am Malala.”  During that presentation he recommended “Half the Sky” to the audience which I just finished tonight.  I will blog about that soon as it was one of the most important and emotionally moving books I’ve ever read.  
The latest presentation was given by Topeka Public Schools Chief of Police, Ron Brown, which was centered around “Drive” by Daniel H. Pink.  His talk and the book explored what is behind human motivation.  As a society, we have been pushing past what they describe as Motivation 2.0, which is the idea that we should motivate people to do things through rewards and punishments.  This only works with the most menial of tasks.  
Motivation 3.0 provides people autonomy to get things done, and removes rewards. It is based on the idea that we are all intrinsically motivated to build, invent, and get things done.  By providing rewards, we remove this intrinsic motivation and replace it with something artificial, that we then begin to expect. When it is lacking, the motivation disappears.  
It is a great read, and if you want to know more, I definitely recommend it. 
Awakening Your Motivation 3.0
In part 3 of “Drive”, Pink provides methods to awaken this type of motivation for individuals, organizations, and offers parents/teachers how to do it with their kids/students.  
Pink introduces us to Clare Luce, who in 1962 offered John F. Kennedy the words, “A great man is a sentence.” Here are some examples offered by Pink: 
  • Abraham Lincoln preserved the union and freed the slaves. 
  • Franklin Roosevelt lifted us out of a Great Depression and helped us win a world war. 
Then he asks the big question, “What is your sentence?” This had me stumped for a while. I got to a point where I got a little peeved at the notion of asking me such a question.  I don’t need a sentence, I thought, and then I thought that maybe my sentence could be “Jason Shaw didn’t need a sentence.”  
That begs for a lot of context, so I came up with one that I believe has stuck with me for quite a while now, and continues to be true.  “Jason Shaw liked to have fun, but more than that, he wanted all of us to have fun as well.”  
You may be thinking where the motivation is in that sentence.  It is motivation enough for me.  
I’ll revisit it again, and will change it if I feel like it needs changing, but it works for me right now.  To repeat Pink’s question again, “What’s your sentence?”  

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