I’ve discovered that many people lack the passion to really do something remarkable or meaningful with their lives, not necessarily because they’re lazy, but simply because they’ve ‘fallen asleep at the wheel.’ It seems that once we find a manageable set of circumstances, once we create a routine or a pattern, we settle into a familiar schedule where there are few defeats, denials, rejections or failures.

While this safe routine works for some, there are millions of people who crave change but lack the motivation to create the changes they crave. They see their friends or coworkers shaking off distractions and simply ploughing their way to success. The mere sight of these highly motivated individuals can be enough to leave anyone exhausted, but have you ever sat back and wondered just how these highly motivated people continue to generate this kind of energy. Where does this motivation come from?

The area of motivation in psychology has exploded in popularity in recent years because people realize it truly is a driving factor to a successful life; something everyone – to some degree – wants. People not only want to be successful and driven, they also want to be seen as successful and driven, or in other words, motivated.

While some people are biologically motivated, meaning they possess innate tendencies that drive or motivate them in the same way a bird knows it needs to build a nest or a spider knows how to spin a web, for most of us, our biological genes motivate us to perform in ways that satisfy our needs. By satisfying our immediate needs we maintain an internal calmness.

However, even satisfying our own internal needs does not always guarantee success nor does it always generate the necessary motivation. Sometimes, achieving our number-one goal creates a thin veneer of satisfaction. We settle into a comfortable routine with how much money we earn, the brand of the car we drive, our bank balance, the labels of our clothing, the vacations we take, and the relationships in which we enter.

We convince ourselves we should be happy with placating self-talk like: “I’m pretty comfortable right where I am;” “I don’t need more;” “I don’t have time;” “I’m too old…too young…too [fill in the blank];” “Others live worse;” “I don’t have right degrees;” “I have achieved a lot” and suddenly we find ourselves without the motivation to make changes. Not only are we without the motivation, this lack of encouragement is passed on to our children.

According to a study by the National Research Council, more than 40 percent of American high school students are disengaged or unmotivated. They are inattentive or bored and put very little effort into their schoolwork. The consequence to this lack of motivation can be a deficiency in higher achievements later in life.

While humanistic theorists believe people are naturally driven to achieve their maximum potential, studies have shown time and again that when your lower needs go unmet, you are not able to meet you higher level of needs. In order to be motivated to either start achieving, or to continue achieving, people must first focus on satisfying their basic needs.

Ways of satisfying our needs are different and each of us chooses our own way. When we know which needs we satisfy with specific negative forms of behavior, we can design healthier ways for satisfying those needs. The power of a person lies in their ability to choose freely what specific things will mean in life.

 

Article Author: Smiljan Mori is the founder of MindOver™ Network, Brilliant solutions for Performance, Motivation and Happiness. He has literally created a successful business and coaching empire from scratch and is a best-selling author and motivational speaker who brings unparalleled professional experience and the latest scientific research from neuroscience and positive psychology to audiences around the globe. He has shown more than 150,000 people from 50 countries how to change their lives for the better.

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Article References:
Motivaction For Life by Smiljan Mori
http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/05/the-secret-to-effective-motiva/
http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/08/motivation-through-mentors/
http://allpsych.com/psychology101/motivation.html
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309084350

Photo Source: courtesy of Stuart Miles / Free Digital Photos