February 21, 2023 by Dymphna

T-Bomb: Motivation for tired dogs

Truth Bomb Tuesday: It’s kind of obvious when you think about it

So the science of motivation is shifting.

It’s a very interesting time to be alive. There’s so much going on. It’s wild.

Take AI for example. Nuts.

But psychology is also offering up lots of gems at the moment too.

And when I look at it, what I see is a discipline slowly coming to grips with the fact that humans aren’t that special.

100 years ago, we saw a massive distinction between humanity and every other living thing. Humans were special. God made us special. There was as much difference between humans and dogs as there was between bananas and grains of sand.

That was the old view.

Now, we’re slowly waking up to the fact that, actually, we’re not that different. At the end of the day, we are animals with animal biology.

Sure, humans are unique in their way. But we have a lot more common with dogs than our precious little egos would like to imagine.

So that seems to be where psychology is at.

So take the revelation from Dr Emily Balcetis at New York University, for example.

She says that humans are much more motivated by fear than they are by reward.

And so if you want to really drive yourself and achieve your goals, it’s worthwhile focusing on catastrophic failure.

So if you’re trying to get yourself up early to spend time on the I Love Real Estate course materials for example, don’t visualise all the nice things that will happen once you have made your fortune in real estate.

Rather, focusing on the disaster that’s going to befall you if you don’t do your study.

Imagine me, sword in hand, tongue out, and necklace of severed heads around my shoulders.

Or imagine working in the office until you’re 80, as your health deteriorates and cancer takes hold.

Fear of catastrophic failure is a powerful motivator.

Of course, now that we think about it, this seems kind of obvious. We know that we are driven by fear.

But it is very interesting to think about how you can marshal your fears to build your motivation. That’s a very interesting game.

And it’s definitely worth playing with.

That said, I guess I would offer two thoughts of caution.

One, we need to know that we are processing stress well before we introduce more stress into the system.

We know that stress has a number of negative health effects. Putting yourself into a panic just to kick some goals, might not be the best thing for you from a wholistic perspective.

The other thing is that I think that while fear is a good place to motivate from, it’s not a good thing to navigate by.

Happiness is not the absence of fear. Happiness is what happens when you live the life that makes you happy.

That means your direction must be set by what makes you truly happy. It must take you closer to that, not just further away from your fears.

But maybe that’s where we’re going: navigate by joy, motivate by fear.

Who’s a good boy then?