Mind Alchemy Day 2 "“ Motivation Direction

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Today is another gentle day, but another powerful one.   When I have spoken to people about this in the past it's always been a surprise to them to find out what their motivation direction is.

I'd like you to think about your motivation direction and what your primary direction is.

What is Motivation Direction?

You might have heard already that all motivation is either moving away from pain or moving toward pleasure.   Most of us tend to have a dominant direction.   This is a completely unconscious direction and many of us will never have thought about it before.   However if we consciously think about it we can begin to strengthen our motivation, and that's the aim of today's exercise.

Your motivation direction is asking yourself if you are moving toward pleasure or moving away from pain.   Think about the words you use when you are hoping to fulfil your outcomes in life.

For example if you want to stop smoking you might think to yourself; 'I want to stop people nagging me about smoking', 'I don't want to spend so much money on cigarettes', 'I don't want to get cancer'.

You'll notice all the above reasons for giving up have a 'don't want to' about them.   So the primary motivation is moving away pain: Moving away from the pain of getting cancer, moving away from people nagging, moving away from the pain of spending so much money.

Another person, who smokes and wants to give up, has a different reality from you might be thinking; "˜I want to be much healthier', 'I want to be able to climb that mountain I've always wanted to climb.' 'I want to fit in socially'.

All of the reasons above have a 'want to' statement in them.   The primary motivation here is moving toward pleasure: Moving toward being healthy, moving toward climbing that mountain.

Toward Motivation

People who move toward what they want in life tend to look at the possibilities of the future, with little regard for the obstacles that could get in their way.

Away from Motivation

People who move away from what they don't want in life are people who look at solving the problems in their life in order to make it easier for themselves and others.

Thinking about your own motivation

Download a copy of Motivation Direction worksheet

Think about 4 of your smaller outcomes for the next month e.g. To give up smoking, to go to the gym 3 times per week, to lose weight, to get another job.

Look at the words you use and determine if your motivation direction is moving away from pain, or moving toward pleasure.   Once you have done this for all of your short term outcomes you should begin to build up a pattern of your motivation direction and what your primary direction is.

This becomes important when we go on to do the work on your outcomes which we will spend a lot of time on in day 5 of the course.

Increasing your motivation

You will notice that sometimes you are 'away motivated' and sometimes you are 'toward motivated'.   If you find yourself putting something off, or your 'away from' motivation is not particularly strong, you can use your imagination to make it stronger, completely change direction or use a combination of both directions to help you fulfil your outcomes.

For example:

I used to be a smoker, I told myself I enjoyed it and it didn't matter what anybody said I was going to continue to smoke.   Then due to the kids getting at me all the time and feeling their worry about me dying from smoking, I decided to give up.   Well when you give up for someone else and not for yourself it can be a recipe for disaster.   I was away from motivated: I wanted my children to stop worrying, and I wanted them to stop getting on at me (just some of the reasons to give up).   I set a date in my head and made the move to stop smoking.

I realised that the images in my head weren't particularly strong, I would imagine the boys nagging at me, but it was off in the distance, I imagined them worrying, but the image was very small and not very bright.   So I blew the images up, made them close, made the sounds boom at me, I put myself right in the picture and sure enough my motivation would increase.   I also decided to use a mixed approach, some 'toward motivation' images, such as me being healthy, playing around with my boys without feeling out of breath and really made the movie inside my head bright, colourful, up close, loud, and very vivid.   I also used some 'away motivation' as I mentioned above.

So, knowing what your motivation direction can be important.  Knowing how you are seeing the images and movies in your head is also very important.   If the images in your head are small, in black and white, off into the distance, bring everything up very close, make it bright and colourful, make the sounds loud, and use as many of your senses as possible. Also think about your outcomes often whilst making them as vivid as possible.


Tomorrow we will be looking at unearthing your core principles and adding some new ones as a way to live your life.   Until tomorrow my fellow Mind Alchemists"¦"¦..

Action follows a thought"¦

This course is about taking action, and to become pro active in changing your life.   Take time to do this exercise and really think about it throughout the day.   You don't need to wait until tomorrow to take steps to improve your "˜Wheel of Life', but with the support and encouragement from all the members we can help each other and support each other, but ultimately "˜you have to bring something to the table!'

Your thoughts

As always it's good to talk about your experiences and share it with the rest of the members of the course, so let us know how this exercise went for you and if you gained any insights or had any revelations about yourself or your life.

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About the author

Steven Aitchison

Steven Aitchison is the author of The Belief Principle and an online trainer teaching personal development and online business.  He is also the creator of this blog which has been running since August 2006.