Choosing Between Positive or Negative Motivation

by | Jun 7, 2019 | Blog

If you’re not being chased by a tiger, or something equally as threatening, you get to choose what motivates you. And there are two options.

You can either be motivated by something positive, the movement towards a vision or improved state, or by the movement away from a negative state.

If you choose negative motivation, you’re allowing anxiety, stress, and fear to drive action. However, the research clearly shows that we make better decisions, have improved memory, and innovate more when we’re in a positive state of mind.

For this reason I try to choose to focus on the positive vision. This creates feelings of joy, anticipation, and helps you see opportunity.

Although this is probably best, human’s are motivated by both and we swing back and forth. Reducing pain, increasing pleasure. Running from negative situations, running to positive ones.

But in a world where you can actively choose your emotional state, why not choose to be positive? Why not let your mind focus on an improved vision of your world instead of just trying to get away from a negative one.

The Case for Leadership & Marketing

The same goes for leading a team, or driving a movement with your organization. If you’re constantly motivating people out of fear, out of lack, out of reducing pain, your people will feel all the emotions that associate with it.

However, if you choose to motivate out of a sense of possibility, and can clearly show a vision of a positive future, now people have your attention. You will not only make them inspired for action, because they see the reason for it (which can be done with negative motivation too), but you can help them to feel safe and opportunistic. That’s where innovation comes from.

So in your mission and vision of your organization, you need to clearly show a positive vision of the world. How are you making that positive vision happen? Not just, how are you helping reduce pain? Your mission and vision isn’t just for your employee handbook, it’s for your customers, your volunteers, your donors, and your investors. But most importantly, it’s for you and your leaders.

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