Your Motivation—Towards or Away From

We are all interested in developing ourselves as men and becoming more interesting and more productive. We all want great careers and lifestyles that match our personalities. But what is your motivation?

We come to here because we want to learn what is possible. We love spending time with others who are going through or have gone through this process. But what are we trying to achieve, what are we trying to avoid? Are you a towards or away from person?

What is our motivation?

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
Lao Tzu

To change we need to move, in moving we are changing. But what is our motivator, what is behind our change?

In the journey of our life are we moving towards a vision or an end point or are we moving away from where we are or have been? Understanding this essential difference in motivation is key to creating the life we desire.

We have no real control over this, it seems to be hard-wired into our personalities. Maybe we developed this as we grew, under the influence of friends or family, or maybe it is simply part of us. Whichever is the case the key motivator can be used for our benefit, but it is essential that we develop awareness so we can understand what is appropriate for us.

Pleasure or Pain? Towards Or Away From?

It is about whether we focus on pleasure or pain.

Pleasure and freedom from pain, are the only things desirable as ends.
John Stuart Mill

That may be the case but which is it for you?

If you are motivated by pleasure you are driven by what you see that you can gain from an activity or a way of life. Classically if you are driven by wanting the good things in life, whether they are cars or boats or whether they are peace and relaxation, you are moving towards pleasure. You might be impulsive, motivated by the experience of immediate pleasure, or you might be controlled, motivated by long term achievement. In either case pleasure is what drives you. You often appear as a positive, optimistic person who sees what is possible in any situation. Vision is your thing. You are often an entrepreneur who sees opportunity in every situation.

If you are motivated by pain, or freedom from pain, to be more accurate, you are driven by what you see that you can avoid through an activity or a way of life. Classically if you are driven by wanting to avoid the bad things in life, whether they are poverty or ignorance, you are moving away from pain. You might be impulsive, motivated by avoiding pain in the moment, or you might be controlled, motivated by moving completely away from a situation you do not want to experience again. In either case the avoidance of pain is what drives you. You often appear as a negative, pessimistic person who sees what might go wrong in any situation. Looking at the past is your thing. You always know what won't work.

Anyone who is experienced in managing teams of people will understand how important it is to have both types of person on your team. If you put them together you will find they constantly argue on what should happen, but if you give them appropriate tasks they will help you achieve a great vision while avoiding the pitfalls.


It actually doesn't matter which type of person you are. If you fully harness your personality you will achieve the same end. You will move along the path set out for you and you will change.

LIFE is a mosaic of pleasure and pain - grief is an interval between two moments of joy. Peace is the interlude between two wars. You have no rose without a thorn; the diligent picker will avoid the pricks and gather the flower. There is no bee without the sting; cleverness consists in gathering the honey nevertheless.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba

So 'in gathering the honey' can you accept who you are and what drives you, or do you find that you fight your basic motivation? Do you find change easy or do you find yourself agonising over what to do?

Try the following:

  • What do you normally think in any situation?
  • What is your common reaction when someone suggests an idea to you?
  • What is your deepest desire?
  • What do you fight against in yourself?
  • Do you know what motivates you?
  • Do you accept how you are?

Being honest about this can transform your ability to grow and change.