Opinion | What is driving your motivation? | Michelle Crawford

Motivation is mysterious. It is one of those human secrets that, if we could crack it, it would make a huge difference. 

There are many  models of motivation that can provide insight. The latest Being More Human blog, written by Sam Sooialo, refers to some of these categories.

One of the basics of motivation is simply to reflect on if you are being motivated towards something (often some kind of pleasure) or if you are being motivated away from something (pain).

There are different standards and, therefore, various levels of effectiveness in each style of motivation.

As an example, let’s imagine you are motivated to be fit and healthy.

Why? Is it because your mother is not, and your father never did any exercise in his life, so whatever happens, you do not want to be like them? That is ‘away from’ motivation, you are motivated away from something you do not want to be like.

Or are you motivated to be fit and healthy because you want to run around with your kids and want to show them the great modelling about being healthy and the ways in which it can support your life?

That is ‘towards’ motivation.

‘Away from’ motivation is inconsistent, it won’t get you the whole way to your goal. It is also very stressful as your drive is fear-based, not love-based. It is often motivating yourself with anxiety, fear and paranoia.

Being ‘toward’ motivated is consistent and will get you to your goal. Toward motivation is about focusing on the future and how you want to create your world. It allows you to choose to persist, even when things have taken you off track, you refocus because you are being drawn towards the experience or goal.

To be motivated ‘toward’ you are often concerned with growth, accomplishment, nurturing goals, you will see opportunities that might help you develop. Being focused on the possibility

Whereas to be ‘away’ motivated is likely to be more focused on security, safety and responsibility.  You will be focused on avoiding failure and you will see all the problems inherent in something.

Ultimately you would want to have a small amount of ‘away’ from motivation as it gives great energy at the start of something. Perhaps 30 per cent. Then you need to have the stronger, more predominant, form of motivation (toward) to sustain your effort and reach the goal.

Michelle Crawford is the founder of Newcastle-based human resources firm Being More Human