What Motivates You?

There’s something about Spring.  No matter where you live, when the calendar moves away from Winter and starts inching towards Summer, we seem to get more motivated about everything.

Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

There may even be a fresh “spring” in your step, if you will.   Warmer temperatures, blooming flowers, leaves popping out on trees, it all just seems to be very motivating for many people.   The question that I’d like to pose for a few minutes though, is what else motivates you?   What is it that really gets you excited and can energize you to do what you need to do, or even beyond what you thought you could do?

Merriam-Webster, defines motivation as, “a force or influence that causes someone to do something.  ”1 With that definition, what are those “forces or influences” that affect you in this way?   It’s interesting, if you look at the plethora of motivational quotes and sayings that can be found online or in books, most of them are very positive in nature; Positive in the sense that, they are trying to be encouraging – trying to influence you to do something.   While I think these are incredibly helpful, I think we miss something if we don’t take a little look below the surface.   At the surface we see that we are motivated by things like success and winning.   But that’s not necessarily true for everyone. And for some people the motivating forces may also be more negative, that is, the force is that of just not failing.

Take the following quote, for example: “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” ~Og Mandino

What is the motivating “force or influence” in this sentence? On the surface it would be the determination to succeed.   It’s saying that if I am determined “enough” to succeed, I will never fail.    However, you could look at this just a little differently and see that the motivating “force or influence” is really, a fear of failure.   I think this is true in a lot of cases.   If we get a little introspective at what fuels our motivation, we very well may find it’s a fear of something.

Are you motivated to eat healthy and exercise because you like the way you feel as a “healthy person”, or are you afraid of getting sick – or getting a disease, or worse?

Are you motivated to do a good job at work because you like being successful or are you afraid that you might lose your job otherwise?   think you get the idea.   And I think it’s time well spent.

Spend some time thinking about what it really is that motivates your actions and behaviors.   The better you understand the underlying motivations and drivers of “you”, the better you can become. It’s really no different than the brands, customers and consumers that we research – the better we understand their underlying drivers and motivations, the better we can help them become.   (You knew I had to tie it back to research somehow, didn’t you!?)

~ Bud Sanders

1 http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/motivation

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