9ControlThe Need for Autonomy

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.

—Abraham Lincoln

“Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” When Martin Luther King spoke these words from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, they ignited the hearts of millions of listeners. At the core of his message was a dream of freedom and equality. It resonated with people because at the heart of every human is an innate desire to be free. When we are free, we have what is called autonomy. Autonomy is our desire to be self-directed, and it is very motivating.

While autonomy is a powerful source of motivation, it often takes a back seat to carrots and sticks. The stick is used to threaten people and push them toward ...

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