Competing Motives

Every motivational speech and self-help book emphasizes greatly the importance of internal motivation.

Isn’t that true?

But very few talk about the root cause of that motivation and the way it impacts us in the long run. There are two types of internal motives:

Approaching motive- When we have a goal in mind and our motivation comes from a desire to achieve that goal, it is called approaching motive

Avoidance motive- If my motivation comes from avoiding something, it is called avoidance motive. For example- failure, debt, breakup, etc.

These two kinds of motives exist within all of us and also influence us in different ways. It has the power to alter your perspective about the entire situation. But sometimes, we reach a state of mind where the two motives are in equilibrium. For example, when you want to start something new, it is your approaching motive. But, you are also scared to lose. This is your avoidance motive. As a result, neither do you give up, nor you pursue it. This generates a sense of conflict within you.  

How to overcome this state of mind?

If you find yourself in this state of mind of being stuck up, you can try these three things:

  1. Develop self-awareness
  2. Pick a side and disturb the balance between the competing motives
  3. Challenge the Performance=Ability=Self-worth model (To know more about it

But firstly, rethink your reasons for pursuing something and what is that you want. This one question will give you a clear picture and help you pursue what you truly want amidst this confusion.

Published by Sruti Shivakumar

An architect from India on a journey of self exploration

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