I think that what drives most of us as human beings is the want for something. You might have a hope, or a big dream, or a goal that you haven't yet achieved.
The best way to make employees happy is to set realistic goals and achieve them. The big job is to make sure those small steps are pointing us in the right direction and demonstrate at the end of the year that they all add up to something pretty great.
Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.
Big Bang Kamehameha!
Goals that are believable are achievable.