understand your drives and motivations

Understanding Your Drives and Motivations

Coming to understand your drives and motivations is an important step towards knowing yourself and taking an active role in your personal evolution and self empowerment. “KNOW THYSELF” is a central tenet of both Eastern and Western philosophy and mysticism for good reason. As per Aristotle, self knowledge is the foundation of all wisdom. How can you expect to understand how you relate to the world around you if you don’t understanding what drives you? When we don’t understand what is motivating our choices and actions, we live our life on auto-pilot, we are uncertain, stressed and reactive, and we struggle to find a coherent sense of meaning or purpose. When you understand your drives and motivations it helps you to make sense of how your life is unfolding, reducing uncertainty and stress. Armed with this self knowledge, we are able to express our unique identity with confidence, have clarity of vision and define a definite sense of purpose that we find fulfilling, and which gives meaning to our lives.


What Actually Drives and Motivates Us?

We are driven and motivated by our underlying beliefs and a hierarchy of life priorities. This hierarchy of priorities shapes our default perception of everything in our experience of the world around us. Our perception and experience of reality in turn provides feedback for our underlying beliefs, either reinforcing them or updating them. The order of arrangement of life priorities in our hierarchy dictates our interests, and defines what does or does not warrant our attention. It also dictates which opportunities we notice, steers our choices and behaviors, and influences how we interact with others, from our social interactions to our romantic relationships.


The 8 Main Arenas of Life

We have a measurable level of empowerment (or dis-empowerment) in each of the different arenas of our lives, depending on the level of attention and effort that we focus in that area. Empowerment of these arenas is not necessarily measured relative to others or to societal expectations, as individuals it’s more about having the means in each arena to do what it is that we desire to do in life, in order to fulfill our needs, desires and dreams. How would you rate your level of empowerment in each arena?

The 8 Basic Arenas of Life

  1. (BODY) Health & Well-being, Beauty, Strength, etc.
  2. (MIND) Knowledge & Wisdom, Information, Understanding, etc.
  3. (SPIRIT) Spiritual Evolution
  4. Family Relationships, Mother, Father, Siblings, Extended Family
  5. Romantic Relationships
  6. Social Connection & Influence
  7. Vocation & Business, Related to our self directed calling and purpose in life.
  8. Wealth & Finances, not only financial wealth, but everything does have an underlying monetary value

Each of these 8 arenas has a specific level of priority for us, which dictates our interest, motivation and ultimately our resulting empowerment in that arena. Clients who explore their hierarchy of life priorities with us are always amazed at how poorly they understood their underlying drives and motivations, and how much clarity they gain when they come to understand what really makes them tick. People are often confused about their true priorities in life because society conditions us to accept and assimilate priorities which are not authentic to us.

 “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment“ – Ralph Waldo Emerson.



False vs Authentic Priorities

Many of us have assimilated, internalized and superimposed the beliefs and priorities of perceived authorities over our own priorities, and we are living unhappy and unfulfilling lives trying to live up to these inauthentic priorities. These perceived authorities can include parents, teachers, romantic partners, religious institutions, educational institutions, etc. They act as agents for  overarching societal norms and ideals.

We always act according to our own inherent hierarchy of priorities, but almost always judge ourselves against the priorities that we have been conditioned to assimilate and internalize. When we judge ourselves based on these inauthentic priorities, we undermine our own authority and autonomy in our lives and we devalue ourselves, building resentment towards ourselves for submitting and towards those under whom we have subjugated ourselves. We only discover authentic power when we become our own highest authority, trusting our own abilities and guidance, ignoring outside opinions, and taking full responsibility for our decisions, actions and circumstances. Einstein had a few interesting things to say about authority. Based on the quotes below, he was obviously not a great proponent of submitting to authority.

“My contempt for authority made me one” – Albert Einstein
“Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” – Albert Einstein

Replacing Confusion with Authentic Power

As longs as we don’t understand our drives and motivations, our journey of self discovery and self empowerment is a blind struggle, plagued by conflicting priorities and beliefs, leading to confusion, frustration and self-depreciation. We tend to blindly follow and conform to the norm rather than lead with inspiration.

“Envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide”. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Armed with self knowledge, we gain the clarity we need to become self defined and self determining individuals, freeing ourselves from subjugating beliefs and false priorities and able to empower ourselves according to our own innermost drives and priorities. We are better able to perceive our true worth, and clearly understand what we have to offer in terms of value to the world around us. We are also able to understand the underlying drives and motivations of those around us better, appreciating them for their unique individuality, thereby enhancing our communication and relationships with them. This is especially true for romantic relationships, where juvenile unaware partners often try to impose their beliefs and priorities on each other. Would your romantic relationship improve if you accepted and appreciated your partner for all that they are, exactly as they are, instead of trying to “fix” them or change them to make them more like you? Would your relationship be richer or poorer if there were two partners exactly alike?


How to Determine Your Hierarchy of Life Priorities

It’s not difficult to understand your drives and motivations, we are simply not taught a systematic way to do it. When mapping out our hierarchy of life priorities it is absolutely imperative that we only include what our life actually demonstrates is important to us. This is because it is not initially easy to distinguish between what our culture or society demands of us, what authority figures around us expect from us, and what is truly authentic to us. It is often the case that we have internalized the values of others to such a degree that we are not accurately able to distinguish between our own authentic values and those of some outside authority. Our need to be accepted and appreciated in society pressures us to conform to societal ideals. The lower our self worth and self esteem the more we tend to just conform rather than push boundaries and explore our own gifts and talents. Keep in mind that we always act according to our authentic priorities, so only what you can see demonstrated in your life actually reflects your true priorities.

To identify your highest priorities, look at what you most fill your personal space with, where you spend the majority of your time, energy, effort, finances, etc. During what activities do you find yourself totally losing track of time? What activities make you feel the most inspired? We associate words like “love to”, “can’t wait to” and “want to” with high priorities. To identify your lowest priorities look at where your greatest avoidance and procrastination takes place. We associate words like “have to”, “must do” and “should do” with low priorities.


Do you need some help to understand your own drives and motivations?

For a complete in-depth exploration of your motivational life priorities we recommend our Motivational Life Priorities Exploration Pack to map out your life priorities in detail. The pack contains a step by step guide on how to determining your hierarchy of life priorities. A clear understanding of your life priorities will enable you to set goals that are aligned with who you truly are, and to define a vision for your life that will truly inspire and fulfill you.

As an added bonus, we also show how to work backwards from the results to reverse engineer your life and get a detailed understanding and explanation of your past frustrations and failures, showing how the futile pursuit of superimposed false priorities wasted your time and efforts and diminished your sense of self worth. This reverse engineering is particularly valuable if you are struggling with low self worth and you beat yourself up about a lack of accomplishment in your life.

If you are interested in using our Motivational Life Priorities Exploration Pack to map out your life priorities please contact us. We are working on making it available as an interactive online questionnaire right here on our website in the very near future.

We hope you found this article useful.
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Regards, Graham and Monika Burwise

Graham is a leading authority on human behavior and modern relationships, and his insightful wisdom has helped countless couples to solve their challenges and revive their relationships. His refreshing perspective challenges society’s outdated beliefs and expectations about love and romantic partnership, and provides a detailed roadmap for building more fulfilling relationships. His compassion, dedication and integrity make him the ideal teacher and mentor for couples dealing with sensitive personal challenges.

Graham has invested more than four decades exploring personal and spiritual development. His natural curiosity and dedication to the pursuit of wisdom has given him a deep understanding of human behavior and relationships, human development and personal empowerment. He is a sought after teacher and mentor for those looking to repair or revitalize their romantic partnership, accelerate their individual growth or gain a more direct experience of their deeper (spiritual) nature. Graham’s studies have included psychology, philosophy, physiology and chemistry, and he has a keen interest in many areas of scientific research. He has also explored several mystic traditions and studied spiritual teachings from around the globe.

Graham and his wife Monika are co-founders of the Global Awakening Institute. They provide education and mentorship for those looking to master the art of building lasting love and truly resilient relationships.

Specialties: Human Behavior & Relationship Specialist, Personal Growth and Empowerment.

Special Interests: Personal Growth and Relationship Dynamics, Psycho-physics, Trans-personal Psychology, Spiritual Development and Evolution.

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