What motivates you?

April 25, 2022

While we might associate the term motivation with aspiration, inspiration and whole bunch of other uplifting words ending with “tion” it’s really just the “reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way”.

Every little thing that we do in life is motivated by a desire to achieve something – from what we eat, to what we drive, to who we spend time with and where we go out. Consciously or unconsciously we believe (or hope) that they will provide us with something.

So what motivates our behaviour?

There are many theories on motivation but one of the simplest is put forward by B.J. Fogg who argues that there are three things that motivate our behaviour.

A desire to move from:

  1. fear towards hope.
  2. rejection towards belonging.
  3. pain to pleasure.

In fact, if we boiled it right down it is largely just point three – a subconscious desire to avoid pain.

How can you harness your underlying motivations?

Whether you are aware of it or not every single thing you do is motivated by a desire to achieve a feeling. You may not feel motivated in the aspirational sense of the word, but nonetheless you are motivated. If you can better understand what those motivations are you can:

a) disrupt them if they are unhelpful. For example drinking because you want to feel less stressed.

b) consciously use it to achieve what you want. For example, the motivation to go for a new job because you hope it will bring new opportunities.

Bottom line, motivation isn’t something that only a few lucky people have, we all have it. We are constantly motivated to do or not to do certain things. What we don’t all have is an awareness of what’s motivating us or how to tap into it.

Start with building awareness

If you want to increase your motivation you need to start by understanding what it is that is motivating you in the first place.

Begin by asking yourself the following two questions:

  1. If I don’t do X what will I lose?
  2. If I achieve X, what will I gain ?

Simply getting clear on what it is you stand to gain or lose can clarify your underlying motivations. Once you know what it is you desire you can decide if it is reason enough to keep going – or in fact, to stop.

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