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How to Get People to Do Stuff: Master the art and science of persuasion and motivation by Susan Weinschenk

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7. The Desire for Mastery

If you want to Understand the importance of mastery, spend an hour watching a one-year-old. Watch him try to stand up on his own or walk. Watch him play with a puzzle or any other toy. All people—children and adults—have a desire for mastery. It’s a universal human drive to want to master a skill or our environment. People are driven to master a sport, a video game, or skills such as welding, performing surgery, or playing the piano.

The wonderful thing about using the drive for mastery to motivate people to do stuff is that this drive is wired into each of us, and it’s easy to stimulate the desire. But the tricky thing is that the motivation has to be intrinsic, that is, internal to the person. You can’t make someone ...

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