How AMPed are You?

In this classic TED talk, Dan Pink refers to autonomy, mastery, and purpose (AMP) as key factors to motivation. While some will jump to motivation in the sense of getting something, I find it as useful in the sense of motivation to keep going, goal or not. We should find energy from both our current situation and unrealized potential.

Tracking and visualizing AMP

As with anything we care about, it helps to understand our current state and possible futures. As an example, I created a table with some factors that contribute to my AMP. I have given each a score, 4 at best and 1 at worst.

This table is a quick and dirty representation of many factors, which is often enough to summarize our situations. I find it motivating both for acknowledging all I have already, and recognizing factors I could improve. I can also prioritize my efforts, knowing where I struggle.

Several factors are clearly subjective, but others could easily be quantified and evaluated objectively. While we are focused on our subjective experience, it is often easier to change perceptions than reality. For example, it is not always true that property ownership is better than renting, even through the lens of autonomy.

Whenever reaching a best case, I suggest reframing the factor. Since I’ve already begun freelancing, I can now consider what makes the situation more or less autonomous.

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