Humans have many driving forces, both internal and external.
We can use them positively or negatively, but must be careful because using them negatively can drag us down.
How we use our driving forces determines many things about the path our lives will take, about how well (or unwell) we end up.
Below are some powerful driving forces that impact our daily lives.
Most of these are relatively easy to identify in our lives, while others we may use only subconsciously most of the time.
Tell us which driving forces you relate to most in the comment section!
Driving Force #1. Physical and Emotional Comfort
We are initially driven by forces of needs beginning in infancy.
Even before we have developed any communication tools, we need to get our needs satisfied.
Infants cry whenever they are uncomfortable, cold, wet, hungry, dirty, sick, in pain, or frightened.
They will cry out for help, without knowing any human language.
Grown humans are driven by internal forces to respond to the cries of these tiny beings, and take care of their needs.
Driving Force #2. Shame
Humans are very social animals, so as we grow, one of our driving forces relates to the fear of being shunned, or cast out, of social situations.
We model our behavior after those in our home and small community so that we are accepted, and share in the food, housing, and other benefits offered by the grownups.
The fear of heights can prevent us from taking a great job that happens to be in the upper floors of a building.
Fear of success can also cause us to lose out on many great opportunities.
Some people choose their colleges so that they are within a certain distance from home so that they can get back to family within a certain number of hours, meanwhile missing out on a better choice of college.
Fears of punishment, whether prison or peer pressure, or loss of respect are very strong forces.
We continue to behave as expected, even as we have already begun to learn more about ourselves and the opinions of others we meet in our larger community.
Some people either don’t have a fear of punishment, or they believe they won’t be caught, so they are not driven by a fear of punishment.
(*11*)#4. Need for Independence
As we age, we no longer have the drive of complete dependence on other beings to satisfy our needs.
We want to be more independent.
That drive, of course, leads us to the desire to drive a car, get our first job, and travel further from home than we were permitted to when we were younger.
#5. Cultural History
The segment of society into which we are born, and the strength of the family of origin will determine a lot about which driving forces will most strongly impact us as we mature and make more of our own decisions.
Even as we exercise our independence, we may remember being taught that every action is an important indicator of our character, so we will consider our decisions carefully.
For some people, they may not have as strong a conviction of concern for what we were taught in early childhood, so we won’t think as carefully about our decisions, and how they may affect our lives moving forward.
Driving For #6. Money
For some people, money will only drive them as it is needed for the most basic of needs: food, housing, clothing, and basic transportation.
For others, money will drive them to want the most exotic food, the largest housing, expensive clothing, and the most luxurious of transportation.
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Driving Force #7. Need for Love and Companionship
For the majority of people, the need for companionship and love is deep-rooted.
It is much more universal than the driving forces of money and fame, due to the basic human need for socialization.
Another driving force that varies by individual choice is the desire for fitness and health.
Some people value these very highly.
They devote a lot of time to learning the proper ways to take care of themselves.
Both feeling well and looking good are extremely important to them.
They eat well, exercise, get proper sleep, and see their doctors on a regular basis.
Other people may want to be healthy but are less strict on health practices.
They are not driven as strongly by this concern.
Ambition propels us through school, developing skills, and eventually, how we choose to run our lives.
If our rewards for acting on ambition have been mostly positive, we will continue to be ambitious throughout our lives.
If it has been negative, this driving force becomes discouraging ant will cause them to do less for themselves in life.
#10. Fun and Entertainment
Other people don’t want the promise of entertainment; they want their work to be entertaining.
It doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t work, but this focus may direct them to a different type of industry.
They may end up working in an industry, such as music, that affords the entertainment other people want.
They just know that their life has not worked out and they need a big change.
This can be tough on themselves and on their family and friends.
They may leave their successful career for a new lifestyle that will not sustain them financially.
We sometimes refer to this as the midlife crisis.
This is not something that happens to everyone.
People will either be supportive of the person in crisis or not.
It can end up in a positive way, or very negatively.
Driving forces lead us to both make and avoid major life decisions
Avoiding decisions due to fear of the outcome makes us freeze, and we fear both loss and missing out.
We may fear choosing between accepting a promotion in our current company or choosing to accept a job in another industry.
Bypassing the deadline for acceptance, we lose out on both positions.
We cannot operate on only one driving force at a time, a balance is necessary.
This is so that even as we strive for large goals, we remember to continue with the small, but also necessary goals.
We cannot allow our ambition to focus only on the goal of climbing Mount Everest, and ignore the need for food, oxygen, and safety.
It is important to realize that no matter what is driving you, and no matter how you are making your decisions, you have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror.
Some decisions will impact others, and you have to live with the consequences of those decisions, both good and bad.
Which driving force resonated with you the most?
Let us know in the comment section.
We would love to hear from you!
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