The inner thought coming from the heart represents the real motives and desires. – Raymond Holliwell
By Margareth Nannenberg
Do you recognize that feeling that you get when you do things you would rather not do? The feeling of unrest in your head and the energy in your body when you think about what you would have loved to do instead? And yet you rationally decide that these things have to wait until you have got more time …
Guess what: you will never have more time. Even though you think you have got enough to do right now, there are still more things to be added: work, courses, birthday parties, meetings, our children’s school activities, sports, and everything else that is important. You only learn how to work more efficiently and to manage your energy better to meet the day’s end. Or not, and then you end with a burnout.
Why else do you do what you do?
There are times, during holidays, Christmas days or on an ordinary Sunday morning, when you accept the moment as it. Moments when you are totally done with the feeling of being overwhelmed with all the tasks, errands, and obligations. That you just do what you want to do. Nothing more, nothing less. No targeting goals, no extra tasks, no online availability, but just enjoying the little bit of spare time with doing the things you really want to do. Precious moments. The moments when you think: “I should do this more often”. You tell yourself that you have to get your life better balanced, that you have to give these moments priority. Because: why else do you do what you do?
There you go again
Before you know you are back in the rat race. Gone are the intentions you made. You think that it is just temporary and accept it. Until you feel restless again, and realize that you will never have the life you want. Without that edgy feeling though, you could be satisfied with your life as it is. It is a busy life, but you are able to enjoy it like it is; maybe not every moment, but overall, it is good enough. Your feelings of unrest spoil this. It whispers into your conscience that you want a little bit more, a little bit different. You want to live like you have got in mind. Every day. This is an urge inside you, a drive, and it is part of human nature.
We are all driven to do what is needed to take away the restless feelings born out of not working on that what we really want. Your core drive is of importance when you make decisions, how you react, and the actions you do. If your days are filled with doing things that are personally not important for you, and it does not add long-term value to what you really want in life, then you feel unsatisfied and restless. Eventually, you have to make a decision how the rest of your life is going to look like (or for at least the following five years):
- by denial: you just keep going on what you are doing, because it is yet too busy to do something about it; or
- by acceptation: life is what is it, so you try to make the best out of it; or
- by change: you cut ties and take steps necessary to live the life you long for.
Making a well-thought decision will take the unrest away. You can live more consciously, knowing that you live the life of your choice. It is okay when you are doing just fine with the way it is, as long it is what you choose.
What motivates you?
According to professors Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria, authors of Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices, we are all driven by four core human drives:
The drive to Acquire: The desire to obtain or acquire things, like beautiful clothes, the newest gadget, a sports car, or that super comfortable penthouse with swimming pool. Not only the tangible objects of desire are of importance, but status, power, and influence should come with these.
The drive to bond: The desire to be loved and to feel valued. Relations and friendships have priority: being part of a group, having contact, being together to get attention, appreciation, and intimacy mark this drive.
The drive to learn: The desire to satisfy our curiosity. Research, analyze, and understand subjects are important to still the hunger for avid knowledge.
The drive to defend: The desire to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our property. To think twice about making changes.
Josh Kaufman, the author of The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business, stated a fifth drive that is part of the human core:
The drive to feel: The desire for intense and emotional experiences and challenges that heighten the feelings and give energy. The moments in which we feel our heart beating faster from excitement. The urge to feel overwhelmed by happiness.
Can you feel the drive?
Every human being has more or less of any of these drives. If an action means something to you, when it touches your core drive, then you feel something after completing an action. Some examples:
- Satisfaction: when you have bought the latest smartphone.
- Warmth: when you have made an appointment to meet your best friends or arranged a weekend to spend time with your family.
- Excitement: when you have enrolled a new course, or have decided to spend the whole afternoon to read that new book.
- Safe: when you have installed a new fire alarm system for your house.
- Ecstasy: when you have boarded the plane to start your dream trip.
Sometimes you have to change to keep being yourself.
You can make better decisions that are related to what you really want, and easier manage how your agenda looks like for today and the following months, if you are aware what motives drive you out of your bed each morning, if you want a little bit different, then you need a little bit more of yourself. Each and every day.