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What motivates you?

by Suzanne Graham

This is January, and people have resolutions on their minds. By setting a resolution, we are usually stating that we are determined to change something about ourselves. But how success have we been in the past achieving our resolutions, and why do we think this year will be any better?

Perhaps if we look at what motivates us, we can better align our goals to what drives us. The US psychologist, Steven Reiss, categorizes our motivations into 16 basic desires in his book, Who am I.

They are:

1. Power is the desire to influence others.
2. Independence is the desire for self-reliance.
3. Curiosity is the desire for knowledge.
4. Acceptance is the desire for inclusion.
5. Order is the desire for organization.
6. Saving is the desire to collect things.
7. Honor is the desire to be loyal to one's parents and heritage.
8. Idealism is the desire for social justice.
9. Social Content is the desire for companionship.
10. Family is the desire to raise one's own children.
11. Status is the desire for social standing.
12. Vengeance ist he desire to get even.
13. Romance is the desire for sex and beauty.
14. Eating is the desire to consume food.
15. Physical Activity is the desire for exercise of muscles.
16. Tranquility is the desire for emotional calm.

Businesses and even sports teams have used these basic desires to better understand their employees and players. The German football club Hannover made headlines this month when it was reported that their players were being asked to fill out a survey with questions like, "I have a strong and frequent desire for sex", "I have many erotic fantasies" and "I am proud of my erotic experiences".

That which motivates us will depend on what we desire. So according to Reiss's theory, we need to determine our desire and set up conditions to perform at our best based on what motivates us.

Hmmmmm, I can relate to number 14. So all my rewards for finishing the next chapter, the next story, should be chocolate, right? But what about my resolution to achieve a healthy weight?

Maybe I need to read the rest of the book...

Happy New Year!

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