by Craig Lock

"It is a funny thing about life; if you accept to refuse anything but the best, you very often get it." - Somerset Maugham

"Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice." - Anon.

What motivates us to do the things that we do? Why do we think and behave as we do? What influences people to do what they do? The word "motivation" means different things to different people. One thing for sure is that you can't buy a jar of it: it has to come from within yourself . A person's brain needs constant motivational input just as muscles need exercise, engines need petrol and plants need water. I used to think that motivation was a slick American fad and that it wasn't for me. After all, I was very motivated already!

People are the product of their thoughts and the aim of motivational material is to improve the quality of your thoughts. Motivation is nothing more than encouragement and we all perform better for it. Friends of mine say that I am a good motivator, because I simply encourage others.

"We become what we think about all day long." - Emerson

"Most people think only what everybody else is doing." - Earl Nightingale

With this work I have radically changed direction in trying to earn a living and do something I have always wanted to. I don’t know where it will lead. However, I am more motivated than I have ever been. I am typing this on a Sunday afternoon.

The road to achievement starts with a goal. Implant that goal in your mind and think about it all day long. I am doing that with this manuscript and my goal is to have it published and be an author. I think I have taken the right action steps so far, so that I eventually reach my target. Pay the price by making sacrifices. Take small steps towards your goal every day, instead of occasional bursts of activity.

The principal difference between the average person and the one who is highly successful seems to be in the degree of his or her personal motivation. Motivation is the hidden power in the successful person's arsenal and is the key ingredient for success. Most people, I believe are motivated or have the potential if they are aroused and interested in the activity.

However, one thing is for sure: It is not something someone else can give you. It must be self-generated from within; it is not external "RA RA" hype. In other words, motivation is an inner energy, rather than a fire lit by others.

Strong motivation also stems from a deep rooted belief in what you are trying to do; it is strongest when it comes from your inner values. This creates a feeling of ENTHUSIASM which is essential in order to remain motivated. Look at the zeal of a missionary or a Jehovah's Witness. The best salesmen are those who get very excited about and have total faith in their products. They sell with a firm conviction that their product is the best available.


What influences people to do as they do? There are many diverse influences. It is difficult to pin-point which one is most important, but some factors are as follows: different cultures, social environment and biological influences (e.g.. hunger, thirst) in work and in play. Other influences are our thoughts, our perceptions. Everyone is different and unique, so there are great individual differences in our drives.

There are two main sources of motivation: What will happen if you do? What will happen if you don't . For example, your doctor advises you to give up smoking. If you do, you will feel better and live longer; if you don't your health is going to deteriorate. Both sources (and implications) are equally powerful.

There is a strong correlation between motivation and achievement. Highly motivated people are nearly always achievers. Thrillseekers like sky-divers and stuntmen often need to do life threatening activities to keep them motivated. Danger gives them pleasure and keeps them motivated.

Why do we work? Is it just for money or is money merely a short-term issue? I am personally not motivated by money. I prefer interesting and exciting work that offers a challenge and the opportunity for personal growth. Others may feel the need for affiliation or to contribute to society. In the following chapter there is an exercise on this.

Understanding motivation gives us the power to accept our behaviour when we have strange reactions. It can also enable us to change what we think and do if we want to improve our behaviour or performance. So when going for a job it is critical to understand your motivations. What do you really want and expect from it? What do others expect of you? Our behaviour is directly affected by our needs. If you are clear about the answers you will be happiest.


There are three main theories of motivation:

1. Desire for achievement

2. Desire for power

3. Desire for affiliation or sense of belonging.

These theories are linked to the concept of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside, for example, the prospect of fame, recognition, monetary rewards, gaining power, respect or social approval/belonging (=sense of affiliation). With intrinsic rewards, the task or situation is in itself motivating or compelling. Motivation is often defined in terms of our goals. Marie says that contributing to society by daring to be different is what motivates me- strange! I think that I get bored easily without a challenge. Enough about “little old me”!

There are six main steps or elements in the process of motivation.

1. Desire: Firstly, to be motivated you must have an intense burning desire to get where or what you want.

2. Decision: You must make a conscious decision on what to aim for.

3. Determination: to climb mountains so that absolutely nothing will stop you. You need to be able to repeat the habits which are necessary to get there.

4. Discipline: It is critical to pay the price whether you like it or not. Motivation is strongest when it is the internalisation of your goals and dreams, in other words, when you are headed on a clear path in your life's direction.

5. Focus

6. Direction

Professional salespeople, like top athletes, have the constant challenge to reach and sustain an optimum level of motivation which overcomes problems and brings results. If there is no challenge in what you are doing, motivation will soon wither and die. Always remember: The buck starts -and stops- with you.

Self knowledge is the key to self-motivation:

- why do we behave as we do?

- what makes us tick?

Also critical for motivation is the image or snapshot you have of yourself. This is based on your inner belief in yourself as well as your attitude and views of your strengths and weaknesses. If you believe in yourself and expect success, you will act confidently and be highly motivated.

Key Points of this lesson :

* We must define success for ourselves.

* Be aware of our own strengths and weaknesses.

* Your personal solutions lie within you.

* To sustain motivation, do better than in the past.

* Motivation often comes from a challenge.

* It is necessary at times to make a positive out of a negative.

* The most important thing for an achievement-orientated person is to have a clear goal.

What comes first? The chicken or the egg? Motivation or action?

The answer surprisingly is Action.

Firstly, we have to prime the pump and the way is through action. People who tend to procrastinate confuse motivation and action.






Hierarchy of Needs:

* Ascending levels of motivation.

* Basic needs are both physiological and psychological

* Physiological needs are the strongest- and the easiest to satisfy.

Needs are a combination of natural and learned factors.

At this stage in your career, which level are you mainly concerned with? Once you meet the basic security needs, it is essential to keep raising the level of motivation.

Operating at Different Levels:

An individual may move progressively through each level and as one need is met, another arises. Alternatively, he or she can work simultaneously at more than one level. However, I believe Maslow's triangle is a rather simplistic view, because people are more complex than that. There are grey areas and a person can be on more than one level at the same time. Also, it is hard to tell when you move from one stage to the next, as it’s an ongoing process. Motivation is an extremely complex subject.

More questions? Oh no, not more work!

What Motivated You Two Years Ago?

Were you aware of your motivations, or were you just drifting?

What Motivates You Now?

If it is fear of failure, make a conscious mental shift and think in terms of the rewards of success.

The Importance of Self Motivation:

You have to open your mind, while ideas and desires can be aroused from the outside,(e.g. advertising). Fanning the flames of your desires will increase your personal awareness and self motivation.

How do you maintain motivation?

* By wanting to grow personally.

* Being open to new challenges.

* By breaking out of your comfort zones.

There is nothing like a new challenge, a new goal to re-energise you. Once you master a new challenge, boredom sets in. As Earl Nightingale says, "coral flourishes not in the calm lagoon, but at the cutting edge of life where the waves strike the reef." People who radically change career often experience high levels of work satisfaction, if they have a large degree of independence, even if their status and income are uncertain for a while. That’s me for sure!

All employees and sports-people hit plateaux, bad patches or slumps at various times, but perseverance and motivation can lift you- it is never too late to change, no matter how long you have been down. However, strong motivation requires effort, a conscious control over our attitudes and a willingness to improving ourselves by personal growth. In a word, it requires CHARACTER.

The best athletes continue to train, no matter how. Think positively. The great Australian swimmer, Dawn Fraser said: "I won more races in the locker room than in the pool. The same sentiments were echoed by champion American Olympic sprinter, Carl Lewis.

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We must not change the world, but our own thinking; by so doing we will change the world." Very true!

We are all capable of doing infinitely more. Most people use less than 10 per cent of their intellectual potential (their brain).

Unlock your potential: Most people really only put in the minimum of effort needed to get by. However, everyone has masses of untapped reserves of strength that they do not usually call well as:

* Knowledge

* Energy

* Imagination

* Strength


* Stamina

For example, the person being chased by a lion or a child lifting a heavy weight to free a trapped person.

Fear Versus Desire Motivation

Always remember: most troubles and desires never happen. Motivation is a positive drive moving us towards what we desire, while fear is an inhibitor. Fear is a block which prevents us being creative and productive. The "stick" is a very temporary and not an effective and long lasting motivator.

"A dream without a plan is wishful thinking; A plan without a dream is boring routine. A plan, linked to a dream, and you have the potential to change not only your life, but those around you." Brian Willersdorf, Australian motivational speaker

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."

Authors Note:

Craig Lock has written extensively on the subject of personal success, as well as having studied for many years in the field of self help. This extract is from his first published book HANDBOOK FOR SURVIVAL IN THE NINETIES (which has been updated and renamed HOW TO SURVIVE IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM) . These books are available at :

“HANDBOOK TO SURVIVE THE NINETIES AND THE NEW CENTURY A collection of writings on various subjects to help every man or woman survive in a rapidly changing, uncertain world. HANDBOOK is written in a simple style to help the ‘everyperson’ make the most of themselves and their lives easier. It takes an introductory look at what motivates us and how to set goals... to find our true purpose for being on this planet. Also how to handle the stresses life throws at us. I found it very helpful for my own life.” - Birgitta, Minerva Press (UK)

 Craig's Personal Site 
Creative Writing Course: 
Money management course : 

PS: Dear Americans, please excuse my British English spelling. Very Colonial! I am quite happy for these articles to be used and distributed by other electronic and other magazines (as long as credit is given). If they help others out there in any way, then I’m happy.

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