Human beings can’t stand to lose. We resist losing anything. We always want to gain, earn, win or feel we deserve something greater. We’re driven to make more of our lives, in every way. We respect profit, prosperity and power as if by second-nature, perhaps more than we’d like to admit. In fact, we’ll sabotage possible gains if we feel there’s an implied risk for losing. Sometimes we want things that aren’t good for us but our hope to gain even harmful things outweighs our awareness of potential loss. People simply want something added to their lives at every turn.
It’s written into our DNA to always want more, never less. Anything subtracted, diminished, removed, negated, missing, minimized or lost is abhorred and we’ll fight against it vehemently. Yet, so often, we focus on our desired health, fitness, wellness, creativity and relationships in a negative way. We say we want to “lose weight” or “stop smoking” or we want to “stop feeling sorry” for ourselves, be “less” anxious, fearful or self-conscious, “get out of” financial debt, “cut off” toxic relationships, “detox” our bodies or “reduce” stress. However, we really just want to grow, learn and develop ourselves and increase, expand and strengthen aspects of our lives. So trying to lose, get rid of or deny ourselves anything we want to change automatically meets with internal conflict and winds up blocking our progress.
If the desire to gain is a chief motivator for most people in most situations, focusing on loss simply cannot help us achieve what we want in optimal, positive ways. The case can also be made that external motivators, which can be powerful prompts for action, are inherently negative. Deadlines, expectations, demands, emptiness, fear, guilt, worry, criticism – they can all be used to make us do things we might otherwise ignore or avoid. But they come from a taking, receiving, lacking energy – a place that makes us feel like we need to fulfill ourselves with something external. Those motivations come from a place of pressure, not pleasure. Such energy is essentially thrust upon us, absorbed from the outside, and can keep us operating at a lower vibration than positive, internally generated motivators. Ambition, passion, inspiration, pride, joyfulness, opportunity, gratitude and love are all positive motivations that come from within ones self, derived by a personal need to grow and gain, emitted as a generous, giving energy.
When we need to make changes and want to achieve greater goals our motivations should be primarily internal and remain positive and gain-oriented. If “weight loss” is the goal, one should always remain driven instead by “health empowerment,” “fitness gains,” or “energy improvement.” If we want to “stop smoking” it’s better to focus instead on a ”start breathing” or a ”clear the air” regimen. Either way, you’re not really giving something up; you’re gaining a better habit. To “reduce stress,” we ultimately want to concentrate on increasing tranquility. To be “less” anxious or depressed, we need to think of being more trusting and joyful. To “get out of” financial issues, we simply want to gain more financial power and build wealth. It’s all how you look at it. Staying negative, loss-oriented or externally motivated will only bring you down. We are human beings, but we prefer to be “humans having,” so to have what you really want you’ll need to gain the right perspective. Success is usually a matter of habit, repeated in thought, feeling and action.
To drive home the point about how our needs, desires and motivations direct our habits and actions, let’s look at a few more negative motivators within more positive, gain-oriented frameworks…
1) Deadlines or appointments can also be seen as disciplines or opportunities.
2) Requests or meeting the needs of others can be viewed as caring, service and bilateral reciprocation.
3) Suggestions and demands can become greater receptivity, inspiration or self-will.
4) Criticism can be countered with increasing creativity.
5) Fear, doubt and anxiety once understood can generate compassion and faith.
6) Shame and avoidance can be turned into pride and engagement.
7) A need for comfort and ease can motivate an acceptance of tension or pain.
8) Lack or emptiness can become motivations for fulfillment and gratitude.
9) Guilt or worry can spawn serenity, tranquility and understanding.
10) Responsibility or duty, which can feel heavy, is lightened by a desire to help.
11) Expectations can lead to a greater, more honed acceptance of one’s abilities.
12) Selflessness in giving can allow one to experience receiving with appreciation and grace.
These are just a few examples of some opposites that can help you perceive your true motivations in a different light. Once you see that you’ve been looking at how to compensate for losses instead of aggrandizing your gains, it becomes clear that what moves you into action may not always be the energy you want to exude or attract. There is another way of practicing positive motivation I must mention. If your purpose is to gain and grow, that should be the process, too. You’ll want to enjoy the journey of making gains more than what result might come from them. You can control the energy and intention you direct, but you often cannot have any real control over the results, response or outcome of your efforts. You’re better off remaining detached from the destination and savor the path to making more out of your life. Remember that, whatever your goal, you can make it work for you simply because you want to have and become more of yourself, fulfilled by your own willingness to change and grow. The rest is mainly a matter of practice, diligence, discipline and integrity. Whether you choose to win or lose, what matters most is how you play your inside game.
Stay motivated and be well!