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Daniel H. Pink Quotes

Daniel Pink Author

Daniel H. Pink quotes: an all-you-can-eat buffet of biz and life advice.

“When the reward is the activity itself—deepening learning, delighting customers, doing one’s best—there are no shortcuts.”

“Rewards can deliver a short-term boost. Just as a jolt of caffeine can keep you cranking for a few more hours. But the effect wears off, and, worse, can reduce a person’s longer-term motivation to continue the project.”

“Why reach for something you can never fully attain? But it’s also a source of allure. Why not reach for it? The joy is in the pursuit more than the realization. In the end, mastery attracts precisely because mastery eludes.”

“What you decide not to do is probably more important than what you decide to do.”

“Start planning how to achieve those top five goals. And the other twenty? Get rid of them.”

“Persistence trumps talent. What’s the most powerful force in the universe? Compound interest. It builds on itself. Over time, a small amount of money becomes a large amount of money. Persistence is similar. A little bit improves performance, which encourages greater persistence which improves persistence even more. And on and on it goes.
Lack of persistence works the same way, only in the opposite direction.”

“Of course talent is important, but the world is littered with talented people who didn’t persist, who didn’t put in the hours, who gave up too early, who thought they could ride on talent alone. Meanwhile, people who might have less talent pass them by. That’s why intrinsic motivation is so important. Doing things not to get an external reward like money or a promotion, but because you simply like doing it. The more intrinsic motivation you have, the more likely you are to persist. The more you persist, the more likely you are to succeed.”

“Motivation 1.0 presumed that humans were biological creatures, struggling to obtain our basic needs for food, security and sex. Motivation 2.0 presumed that humans also responded to rewards and punishments. That worked fine for routine tasks but [was] incompatible with how we organize what we do, how we think about what we do, and how we do what we do. We need an upgrade. Motivation 3.0, the upgrade we now need, presumes that humans also have a drive to learn, to create, and to better the world.”

“The most deeply motivated people—not to mention those who are most productive and satisfied—hitch their desires to a cause larger than themselves. Motivation.”

“Make excellent mistakes. Too many people spend their time avoiding mistakes. They’re so concerned about being wrong, about messing up, that they never try anything—which means they never do anything. Their focus is avoiding failure. But that’s actually a crummy way to achieve success. The most successful people have spectacular mistakes: huge, honking screwups! Why? They’re trying to do something big, but each time they make a mistake, they get a little better and move a little closer to excellence. Making mistakes seems risky. It is, but it’s more risky not to. I’m not talking about random, stupid, thoughtless blunders, though. I’m talking about good mistakes. Mistakes come from having high aspirations, from trying to do something nobody else has done.”

“Do what you can’t and experience the beauty of the mistakes you make.”

“The most successful people, the evidence shows, often aren’t directly pursuing conventional notions of success. They’re working hard and persisting through difficulties because of their internal desire to control their lives, learn about their world, and accomplish something that endures.”

“Innovation and creativity are greatest when we are not at our best.”

“The most fulfilling jobs share a common trait: they prod us to work at our highest level but in a way that we, not someone else, control.”

“In the past, work was defined primarily by putting in time, and secondarily on getting results. We need to flip that model.”

“People can have two different mindsets. Those with a ‘fixed mindset’ believe that their talents and abilities are carved in stone. Those with a ‘growth mindset’ believe that their talents and abilities can be developed. Fixed mindsets see every encounter as a test of their worthiness. Growth mindsets see the same encounters as opportunities to improve.”

“Effort is one of the things that gives meaning to life. Effort means you care about something, that something is important to you and you are willing to work for it. It would be an impoverished existence if you were not willing to value things and commit yourself to working toward them.”

“Asking, ‘Why?’ can lead to understanding. Asking, ‘Why not?’ can lead to breakthroughs.”

“Goals that people set for themselves and that are devoted to attaining mastery are usually healthy. But goals imposed by others—sales targets, quarterly returns, standardized test scores, and so on—can sometimes have dangerous side effects.”

“If we stick with a task too long, we lose sight of the goal.”

“Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.”

“Autonomy. Mastery. Purpose. These are the building blocks of [a] new way of doing things.”

“All of us want to be part of something bigger than ourselves; something that matters.”

“Whenever I meet someone new, I always ask the same question: ‘So, what do you do?'”

“Change is inevitable, and when it happens, the wisest response is not to wail or whine but to suck it up and deal with it.”

“There’s an idea out there that salespeople have actually been obliterated by the internet, which is just not supported by the facts.”

“The purpose of a pitch isn’t necessarily to move others immediately to adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation, brings the other person in as a participant, and eventually arrives at an outcome that appeals to both of you.”

“To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources—not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.”

“Anytime you’re tempted to upsell someone else, stop what you’re doing and ‘upserve’ instead. Don’t try to increase what they can do for you. Elevate what you can do for them.”

“It’s not about you. It’s about your customer. It’s about your client. Use your strengths, yes, but remember, you’re here to serve, not to self-actualize. Of course you matter. But the most important successful people improve their own lives by improving others’ lives. They help their customer solve its problem, they give their client something it doesn’t know it was missing. That’s where they focus their energy, talent and brainpower. The most valuable people in any job bring out the best in others. They make their boss look good. They help their teammates succeed.”

“Hire good people, and leave them alone.”

“This is what it means to serve: improving another’s life and, in turn, improving the world.”

“We know—if we’ve spent time with young children or remember ourselves at our best—that we’re not destined to be passive and compliant. We’re designed to be active and engaged. And we know that the richest experiences in our lives aren’t when we’re clamoring for validation from others, but when we’re listening to our own voice—doing something that matters, doing it well, and doing it in the service of a cause larger than ourselves.”

“Mastery of design, empathy, play, and other seemingly ‘soft’ aptitudes is now the main way for individuals and firms to stand out in a crowded marketplace.”

“Empathy is an essential part of living a life of meaning.”

“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate and to connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.”

“Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible. Meaningful achievement depends on lifting one’s sights and pushing toward the horizon.”

“Children who are praised for ‘being smart’ often believe that every encounter is a test of whether they really are. So to avoid looking dumb, they resist new challenges and choose the easiest path. By contrast, kids who understand that effort and hard work lead to mastery and growth are more willing to take on new, difficult tasks.”

“Living a satisfying life requires more than simply meeting the demands of those in control. Yet in our offices and our classrooms we have way too much compliance and way too little engagement. The former might get you through the day, but the latter will get you through the night.”

“I say, ‘Get me some poets as managers.’ Poets are our original systems thinkers. They contemplate the world in which we live and feel obligated to interpret, and give expression to it in a way that makes the reader understand how that world runs. Poets, those unheralded systems thinkers, are our true digital thinkers. It is from their midst that I believe we will draw tomorrow’s new business leaders.”

“Extroverts often stumble over themselves. They can talk too much and listen too little, which dulls their understanding of others’ perspectives. They can fail to strike the proper balance between asserting and holding back, which can be read as pushy and drive people away. A few of us are extroverts. A few of us are introverts. But most of us are ambiverts, sitting near the middle, not the edges, happily attuned to those around us. In some sense, we are born to sell.”

“The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind—creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.”

“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”

“We’re born to be players, not pawns.”

“Social breaks are effective.”

“Most powerful lunch breaks have two key ingredients—autonomy and detachment. Breaks and recess are not deviations from learning. They are part of learning.”

“Vigilance breaks prevent deadly mistakes. Restorative breaks enhance performance. Lunches and naps help us elude the trough and get more and better work done in the afternoon. A growing body of science makes it clear: breaks are not a sign of sloth but a sign of strength. Take meaningful restorative breaks.”

“Before you go to sleep each night, ask yourself the small question: was I a little better today than yesterday?”

“The secret to high performance and satisfaction is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.”

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story (Orson Welles).”

Bezos includes one more chair that remains empty. It’s there to remind those assembled who’s really the most important person in the room: the customer.”

Cory Johnson: CEO of a business he has yet to launch. As seen on your mom’s phone. Scaled to 7-figures in seven seconds selling a course on selling courses. Kidding. Watch this.