How Motivation Actually Works

I have for long been on a path of knowing myself. See I believe whilst the whole world is focused on trying to find out about others and manipulate them, the majority of us have not figured ourselves out yet.

One of the subjects I zeroed in on was “Motivation”, particularly self motivation. I wanted to know how I can get myself to do things I am supposed to do.  You know there are things I must do to become a better version of self that are not exactly fun to do.

Most quickly think of Zig Ziglar, Napoleon Hill and so forth when looking at motivation but I decided to look at food, sex and other basic things.

Let’s look at food.

Why do we eat?

Main Reason: We eat in order to gain nutrients and energy which is responsible for many bodily functions that keep us alive.

But why does food have taste: Taste is an incentive to make us enjoy and like eating. It is a motivational pull factor.

For instance someone may eat Apples for the taste, but indirectly gain nutritional value. So motivation works with pleasurable incentives and pull factors.

But why do we hunger?: Hunger is dis-pleasurable hence a push factor. It motivates you by forcing you to get food in order to stop it from rumbling. So it is a push factor.

In essence motivation is at base level.

Pull factors: The things that are pleasurable that you gain from doing a certain behaviours.

Push factors: The undesirable things you escape by performing the behaviour.

According to something widely known as the pleasure principle which was coined by Sigmund Freud.

In Freudian psychoanalysis, the pleasure principle (GermanLustprinzip)[1] is the instinctual seeking of pleasure and avoiding of pain in order to satisfy biological and psychological needs.[2] Specifically, the pleasure principle is the driving force guiding the id.[3]

From Wikipedia.

So in order to motivate yourself define your push and pull around a given activity.

The main function of sexual intercourse is to reproduce (on an evolutionary perspective) and therefore replicate a certain species, thus perpetuating existence.

However if there was no pleasure and urges to push people to do it, people would do it less or forget at all such that populations would decrease even to the extent of extinction.

Use this knowledge to your advantage, firstly to motivate yourself and even to motivate other people. It is a balance between what’s there to lose and what’s there to gain.

For instance:

The fear of having slimmer career options should push a young student to read all night and give up the temporary pleasure of playing video games or checking Facebook.

Simultaneously the pleasure of seeing a good future and good earning as a pay off should pull him and encourage him.

This is why it is important to reward good behaviour and punish bad behaviour in a society. If people who do bad tend to have pleasurable outcomes with no punishment it teaches the ones that come after them to do the same of course.

Likewise, awards, prizes and other good incentives given matter.

Now even you as the individual can give yourself incentives.

If you love Game of Thrones perhaps,  be your own boss and lock it away so that you can do work with watching it as the reward. Do not reward yourself before you accomplish the work.

If your passion is wine, Facebook, cycling or shopping do the same.

Personally I have been off Facebook for a week to complete production a highly procrastinated episode of African Dynasties and other pending projects including this article which I had been trying to do for months.

I enjoy Facebook very much and thus it has become my target all the time whenever I have a backlog or a goal. Each time I feel a craving to log back on, I ask myself.

“Did you complete what you must complete?” If my answer to myself is “No. Then no Facebook.”

As it is I have completed episode two, but I still have a lot of paper work to complete and an artwork project before I resurface to my favourite past time. However I must say, finishing up this post alone and the African Dynasties episode (which will be aired on 15 October) was a big pay off too.

Meanwhile if you’re reading this  I am still on a sabbatical and you got this link from Facebook it must mean I have loyal friends after-all.

update… am back!!!

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2 thoughts on “How Motivation Actually Works

  1. Mambo Reply

    A close follow up on one’s push and pull factors can help one achieve notable goals.
    Good read.

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