Everyone seems to want motivation.
While I have written many articles on this topic, let’s discuss the two types of motivation, and how you can benefit from them.
Renowned goal setting expert, the late Brian Leaning-Mizen wrote about the two types of motivation in his very enlightening book, Beyond Dreaming.
He said that people are motivated, based on two things:
As a certified Life Coach and a qualified Counsellor, I concur with that.
Instead of the word “incentive”, I like to use the word “desire”.
People want motivation to do things due to either a fear or a desire.
Let’s look at both of them in detail:
- Fear based motivation – the most common, or the clearest example of this is the number one fear in western society (the fear of public speaking). I can vouch for this because there was a time in my life when I used to shake and sweat before delivering a speech or a presentation. Imagine that you have to deliver a speech at an upcoming conference or a wedding. What would you do? First, you may look for ways to control or even hide your fear. Second, you might look for tips on public speaking. You might even consider joining a public speaking club like Toastmasters International, or you might take a short course in public speaking. Whatever you do, your actions will be driven by the fear of public speaking. You will be motivated to overcome this fear. You might spend money on a public speaking course. Or, you might spend your evenings in attending a Toastmasters International club’s meetings. Regardless of how tired you are on the night, you will be motivated to attend the club meeting because your fear of public speaking will be motivating you to go.
- Desire based motivation – a clear and common example of this is weight loss. A person’s desire to have a leaner and fitter body will motivate them to do whatever it takes to achieve this goal. They will focus on how good it will feel when they are in the shape that they desire so much. Their actions will be dictated by that desire. They will find motivation to take the necessary action steps in order to achieve their goal. Let’s imagine that they have a class at their gym to attend in the evening. It will not matter if it is raining and cold or if it is hot and humid. This person will be motivated to attend that class at the gym because their desire will give them motivation to drive their actions. If this person has to go to a work lunch where there will be unhealthy food on offer, they will resist the temptation, and will stick to a healthy meal. Even if their colleagues are indulging in eating cakes and sweets, this person will stick to their healthy meal. Why? They have a burning desire to get their desired physique. The more they think about being in their best shape, the more motivation they will find/get. Their desire will override any temptations.
At this point, you might be wondering “Is desire based motivation better than fear based motivation, or vice versa?”
The answer to that question (in my humble opinion) is “No”.
One is not “better” than the other, purely because they both give you motivation to take action that will lead you to get what you want. As you might already know, the right action steps are very powerful, regardless of the motivation behind them.
The one suggestion that I have for you is this – if you are driven by fear based motivation, be mindful of your language patterns. For example, instead of saying to yourself “I don’t like the fear of public speaking”, say “I want to be confident in public speaking”. Put a positive reference to it. What you say to yourself is very impactful. Try this short exercise for a moment – close your eyes, take a deep breath, and say the word “Confident” aloud. How do you feel after doing that? Chances are, you feel confident.
Your words can be instrumental in creating your feelings. Use encouraging words when you are driven by fear based motivation.
Quote: “Everything that you currently do well might have seemed to be difficult or even impossible at one time.” Brian Leaning-Mizen
I sincerely hope that you have gained insights into how you can use the two types of motivation to your advantage.
Influencing you to your excellence,