Life is often described as a battle. A battle that has to be fought, complete with victories and defeats, captures and surrenders. Fortunately, like war, life is not new. We therefore do not face the challenges unaided as much can be learnt from the experience of others. Sun Tze’s often quoted dictum of “to know yourself and to know your enemies, a hundred battles a hundred victories!” is one such lesson. Success thus begins with us first winning our inner battles as outward success can only come after. Not surprisingly, these inner battles are the hardest to win, as we are afraid to see our own shortcomings.
Each and every one of us is different and unique in our own ways. Apart from the more obvious physical differences in terms of size, looks and natural talents, all of us differ in our responses to challenges and are motivated by different things. It is only through our understanding of our individual motivational pattern will we be able to effectively motivate ourselves towards the attainment of our goals.
Towards vs Away
Psychologists are not sure how or even why, but people can be broadly divided into those motivated to move towards rewards and those motivated to move away from punishment. In layman terms, what this means is that while some people are motivated to work by the pot of gold offered at the end of the rainbow, others are motivated to work by the poverty that awaits them if they don’t.
It is interesting to note that the majority of people are “away” motivated. As such, telling them of the great rewards they will attain by working hard means nothing to them and is unlikely to compel them to work harder. What would be a more effective approach would be to tell them of the possible rewards at the end of the day, and then highlight and focus on the punishment that will result is they do not work hard.
How you do it …
Let us suppose that you have developed this a revolutionary product that will earn you significant financial rewards. You have put in long hours and invested a significant amount of your personal savings to develop the prototype. The proto-type is ready and you now stand at the threshold of success. Somehow, you are afraid to take the next step of selling the proto-type.
Step 1 – Discover your motivational pattern. In this step, you need to discover your motivational direction i.e. do you move towards success, or do you move away from failure? To do this, you simply need to ask yourself, which is more compelling. The thoughts of having everything you dreamed, or the thoughts of not having anything at all. Your answer to this very simple, but focused, question will provide you you’re your motivational direction.
Step 2 – Rephrase your Goals. In step two, having identified your motivational direction, all that is left to do is to phrase your goals according to your individual direction. In the above example, assuming you are away directed, you should then phrase your goals as one to avoid poverty, the fear of not having enough money or being looked down upon. If, on the other hand, you were towards directed, then you should phrase your goals as one that will provide you the rewards of being rich, successful and respected.
It must be noted that there will be fluctuations in a person’s motivational direction. However, in the handling of challenges, a predominant direction will exist. The journey to success is lonely and trying. So note this direction and use it to propel you forward. In your continued journey to success, knowing WHAT motivates you, will give you the HOW. Know thy self!