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What Are Your Motives?

By: Ken Austin

There is a motive behind everything we do, I believe that if we learn to identify our motives we can choose our own direction in life.  A motive is described as "a specific need or desire, such as hunger or achievement, that energizes and directs behavior."  This definition is the inspiration for this article.

In his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation, Abraham Maslow proposed his theory, 'A Hierarchy of Needs.'  He stated that as humans meet 'basic needs', they seek to satisfy successively 'higher needs' that occupy a set hierarchy.

When we are hungry we eat.
When we are thirsty we drink.

These two motives are defined as physiological human needs.  In order to survive we have no choice whether we eat or drink, we simply must do it.  If we allow ourselves to become more hungry, the need to eat becomes more pressing until we either eat or starve.  A starving person will be more motivated to find food than somebody who is well fed and will go to great lengths to do so.

Achievement is described by Maslow as an 'esteem' need, one of the higher human needs.  We gain self esteem through achievement.  I agree with this point, if we see achievement as a human need then it becomes a stronger motive for our actions.  If you are more 'hungry' for success than others, you are far more likely to achieve success than those who 'would like' to be successful.

Motivation is a complex subject, however, it guides every aspect of what we do.  Each of us has different motives and what motivates you may not motivate somebody else. 

During interviews, some successful people cite their motivation as, "being poor as a child."  While others succeed because of a wealthy family background, and the need to be recognised as a success in their own right.

Motivation can come from within, i.e. thoughts, experiences and feelings.  Or from external sources, such as a lack of food.  If you take the time to recognise the factors which motivate you, you will be able to stay motivated and become more productive, ultimately achieving success.

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About the Author:

Ken Austin runs a website dedicated to motivation and self improvement.  Visit us now and read about How To Boost Your Self Confidence.

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