Ever wondered what motivates and moves people to complete a task or make changes in their lives?

Tony Robbins once wrote “All human behaviour revolves around the urge to gain pleasure or avoid pain. You pull away from a lighted match in order to avoid the pain of burning your hand. You sit and watch a beautiful sunset because you get pleasure from the glorious celestial show as day glides into night.”

“Towards or away from” motivation, is also known as “Pain or pleasure” motivation. In other words, are you motivated by what you want (pleasure) or by what you want to avoid (pain)? Not dissimilar to how a horse may act a certain way to either get the crunchy carrot or avoid the painful stick, the way we are motivated actually affects many aspects of our lives.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming language patterns help us to understand that there are times when our ambitions inspire us, and we have a strong desire to move towards our objective. On other occasions, we feel more driven to move away from a difficult situation rather than towards a particular goal.

At some level, if the reward (or potential pleasure) is big enough, or the consequences (or potential pain) are adverse enough, everyone will be motivated to move either toward or away. There is, however, an important difference.

People who move toward, focus on the possibilities and visions of the future. People who move away from what they don’t want are motivated by threats of negative consequences. The key is balance, with the most useful orientation being able to do both. So to see possibilities while also dealing with problems while they’re still small and manageable.

Here are some examples of the two motivation strategies.
Example 1
“I want a house with a view of the ocean with large rooms and cool breezes,” Versus “I want a house that doesn’t feel cramped or hot.”

Example 2
Sharon is seeking the goal of getting slimmer while Ben doesn’t want to be fat.
Both of them want to lose weight, but one is motivated TOWARDS getting slimmer, and the other is motivated AWAY FROM getting fat.
Neither of these orientations is right or wrong; it’s merely the way different people orientate themselves. However, the benefits of moving towards what we want is the mental focus on the positive outcome, which keeps us in a positive frame of mind.

How often do you hear people say “I don’t want?” “I don’t want to fail in my exams”; “I don’t want to feel embarrassed”; “I don’t want to lose.”
These statements all indicate that someone is trying to get AWAY from something.
Conversely, how often do you hear “I want to pass the exams with flying colours?” “I want to win that competition,” “I want to be fitter,” “I aim to stay feeling young,” and other TOWARDS statements.

The key is to be aware of what is motivating you and experiment with moving towards/away from motivation. This way, you will be able to determine which has a more positive outcome on both your mindset and achieving your goals to help you live a more fulfilling life.

If you would like professional assistance in understanding your motivations and clarifying or fulfilling your goals, please contact Skye for a free 15min consultation – 0402 006 985.