Rags to Riches, Riches to Drags, Drags to Drive

Stories told in cultural context over and over again perpetuate a common understanding. These cultural narratives serve as guidelines for each new generation to act and follow but what if these show us historical mistakes?

Let’s take the american dream for example: Work rigorously in our nation and you’re going to be big one day.

Image result for hard work pays off

Now there’s obvious controversy with this phrase in regards to privilege but this article is going to focus on a different overarching problem with this statement.

This statement is usually taken by route of “One day. it’ll all pay off” and there’s a small problem with the fact we say “pay off”. Our society expounds on:

receiving a reward= success

Image result for extrinsic

That’s why so many people are chasing fame and money, but maybe don’t feel right doing that. In journal published by Tetyana Pudrovska and Amlia Karraker in 2014, CEO’s have almost double the depression rate of the general public.

So why is that these ultra famous, ultra rich people are feeling a dissonance?

They, like much of our society, were taught from a young age to follow extrinsic means of satisfaction.

Image result for dangling carrot treadmill

Extrinsic is the necessity for a physical reward, perhaps as a “prize” for completing a certain task or mission. It can be essential to reward a routine task like multiplication facts in a classroom, but there’s another vital source of motivation that’s more important.

Enter Intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation can help all humans become more satisfied with their goals and lifestyles.  As teachers we should remember what the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic is in order to put into practice. Intrinsic has three parts to what makes it up. Need help remembering the three? Just think about how to AMP people up.


  • Giving someone free reign over their project


  • Getting someone to want to become the best at a given skill or field


  • The process and result has meaning to the person

Here’s a good contrast between a man who started off chasing all the wrong things to end up questioning what he wanted and how he should change his definition of success.


Think back to the times in your own life where you felt overly, genuinely happy with an outcome you had a part in, did you get candy? Keep these in mind as it’ll help you come up with ideas to encourage your students.



  1. Wyatt, I loved the application of motivation styles to chasing money and the American dream. The article on not chasing money makes a lot of sense, and it follows a lot of the same guidelines of why I switched to becoming a teacher. A job becomes a lot more worth doing if it’s something you love, and I think this post captures that idea well.

  2. Wyatt,
    I really liked your post! I liked how straight to the point you made the concepts of motivation and drive. I guess my only question is how would you apply this more in the classroom? You seem to mention money as a factor in drive, which is important when relating to the real world, but I’m curious more about the classroom aspect. Overall, I think you hit some important points and the link to the other blog was super interesting to read! Great post!

  3. Wyatt, I love your example of the American dream as a common motivation for people. It’s almost as if we have not only been told to motivate others a certain way, weve also been told we should be motivated by certain things. The blog post you added was really interesting as well on a more personal level. Money is obviously a motivation for many, but what do you find is one of your biggest motivators?


  4. Wyatt,

    I LOVED HOW YOU APPROACHED “DRIVE”. By taking this topic and giving it a relevant/modern approach to it. What is success? What does the external reward of having things “paid off” in the future say about our society? You really took this topic and made it very relatable to what people today really strive towards. In your opinion, what do you think your students want to achieve in life? Do they want this end goal of “success” or do they want to strive for personal greatness?


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