Perhaps our real problem is not so much our deficient thinking, but our complacency. We do believe that our thinking is wonderful. Our existing thinking has indeed been wonderful in science and technology - and getting to the moon and beyond. Yet our poor thinking has been responsible for most of the human disasters such as wars conflicts, persecutions etc. The reason is obvious. We rush to use judgement rather than to design the way forward.
You are 99% correct to say that money is one of the key motivator of human. In a free market, everyone wants something for themselves and money is a link (but not the only link). Creativity and innovation is driven by profitability at the expense of the others (society and environment). There’s no complacency in thinking but uncoordinated effort for self-fulfillment rather than coordinated effort for specific goals in congruence with the society and environment (a better place to live in). These acts of short-termism thinking are killing us all. This includes the government interference (thru short-termism policies and politician’s personal political agendas) with the free market which only pro-long the damages and sufferings to our society and environment.
The other 1% is reserved for those who take pride in their work (sending man to the moon), the love for the society and environment (activist), etc. Money does not really motivate them (some are very rich) but still needed to run their projects or operations. It is their compassion that drives them to the next level and their accomplishments are their happiness. This statement is applicable to the 99% mentioned above as materialism is the route to their perceived happiness and therefore becomes their compassion.
Your points got me thinking about my own situation - for which it's most difficult to perceive one's own assumptions about.
I'm in a livelihood in the 1% - in the "love for people" category. (Alexander Technique.) My unflappable curiosity about how people who could gain a benefit from what I have to offer labels my motives so often as being "fanatic." (Especially when I offer what I can do for free, strangely enough.) Since the classes do take time to learn, perhaps this labeling on their part is one reason for them to decide what I have to offer can't be trusted. I believe the other part is that what I do have to offer doesn't cost me anything but my own time, so there is little output on my part. So they are not able to witness my commitment to it until they have the perceptual ability to appreciate what I'm doing.
“Once bitten, twice shy” can create a psychological barrier not to trust anything too good to be true. So free service is something that has the tendency to be approached with caution. When the person doesn’t understand a thing about the free service, s/he may stay away from it and be safe. Safety is the psychological barrier.
We cannot forcefully feed our perceived goodness into someone mind. Our persistent effort is treated with suspicion. It takes time for others to understand our good motive and see us at eye level. The only way (I think) is that the other person is looking for you, that is, the other person has a problem and is depressed over the problem. S/he needs help and you are her/his savior if you can solve her/his problem by making her/him understand and see it the way you see it.
Trust is gain like respect, love, etc. If you want to build trust, become an expert – publish some useful articles, books, etc. and established youself as the cream of the cake. Instead of giving out your publication for free, selling it makes your work worth something in the mind of the receiver. The money earned can be set aside to create a charitable foundation, etc.
The funny thing about human is that they are willing to pay for seminar, training, etc. to improve themselves and yet go back to old habits of doing things. Is it keeping up with the Joneses, complacency, or something else?
Perhaps it is partly ineffective teaching or communication, coupled with the financial payoff for generating enthusiasm over a product.As I read a book that affects me, I will pretend it's a course. I'll study it - by outlining or re-writing a blow-by-blow synopsis of important chapters or by inventing my own exercises to abstract what it says for my own purposes. However common this is for me, a motive to learn from the written word (beyond getting data) is rare.
From time limitations or other circumstances, most people read what is interesting to them in tidbits; reinforcing it by mostly name-dropping with others without articulating what exactly impressed them about it. Or they only learn through direct experience and eventually put the content into concept as a sign of mastery. Heard the statistic is that over 85% of people who take workshops or buy courses offered in books never even open the course after they buy it. The other ten percent never get beyond the first few pages; only 5% actually get more than half-way through the course. Another surprise was that most people cannot learn things from books; they need provided experiences to abstract what someone else has to offer AND a huge circle of co-learners to reinforce the practice of this new information.
Evidently the idea of design a way to learn in the form of "asking good questions" and then being pro-active to determine what to do with that questioning ability is rare. It is even more rare to be able to observe oneself and one's own perceptual attitude and orientation and how this differs from other people's. So this is most of the content that I have been teaching in my courses. (Self-observation and how to design a way through to learn what you're missing.)
When you think about it, those who took chances also sometimes guessed wrong and were eliminated by circumstance in the process of natural selection. So there are many more people in this world who "play it safe" than there are who can tolerate learning - past a certain age. If you consider how strong habits are once they are trained and become part of our "bag of tricks," you can appreciate how much complacency is a feature of survival. Nature wants you fat and bored!
I've learned that it's time for some thinking skills when I react to someone else saying "the only way...." What you propose is a good question. Let's do some more thinking on "why people are motivated to take significant time to learn..." As you say - the most obvious motive is they have run into a brick wall and can't go any farther.
Their progress on a beloved hobby or pastime is stopped.
Their progress in life is stopped - it's a "last-resort" urge.
Friends are doing it and it's fun as a social activity of bonding
They believe they can make money at it or further their interests
Vanity - they'll look better if they do it, or longer life of better quality
Mystique - it's fascinating for some elusive reason
Safety - they'll survive better
Pride - without fear, pride can be a desire for excellence
On the contrary, almost every social, economic and cultural pursuit - creative writing, politics, government, law, management, etc etc - offers opportunities for making lots of money legally if you master it well enough.
Technological innovations bring in money only when the venture is successful, and that could be a long and tortuous road. It's mostly information technology that are fast to market partly because the entry barriers are low. Biotech products need a very long gestation period before getting FDA approval to start producing revenues. Often, innovative IT products and services are a proverbial tip of the iceberg. For every google, there are at least a thousand other wannabees that fail.
Science doesn't bring in wealth as is. Science lays the foundation for technology development that can only be successful when there is an optimal combination of government / infrastructure support, market opportunities, entrepreneurship & risk taking, etc.People who embark on scientific careers are more likely to be in it for the love of research and discovery of nature's laws. The very best may earn a Nobel prize ; the vast majority eke out a living as educators or worse. Much of science is hard to patent so cannot be a steady source of wealth.
Mathematics in the past decade has become a money spinner mainly because of finance-engineered products and services.
Hence, thinking innovatively or creatively in almost any field of knowledge can bring in good returns if you know how to package it for the market.
Like most things in life, one can't be too altruistic if one wants to be ahead. It's in our selfish genes.
There is complacency in having a good solution to a problem, so you stop looking for a better one.
'If it aint broke, don't fix it" appears good to the complacent thinker because it avoids the risk of damaging something that's working. To understand what is wrong with it you have to "look away" from its positive value.
Like most things in life, one can't be too altruistic if one wants to be ahead.
In the film 'A beautiful mind' John Nashs economoic theory is explained.
what is best for the individual and the whole, is better than a system om which people simply do whats best for them.
Well, it's true that the invisible hand of the economy (doing what's best for ourselves) works wonders. Occasionally,we do need the visible hand of the government. Whether visible or not, complacency would be our downfall. Mastery of one skill or body of knowledge is just transient. Circumstances may change in favour of another skill or knowledge base. Or someone may introduce innovation to offset our present advantageous position or assets.