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What Motivates You - Desire or Fear?

The energy of desire is a powerful motivator and creative force. Yet we must state our desires clearly with the rewards of success in mind.

One of my recent clients had spent six years in a job where he felt unappreciated. Although he had the skills and experience to take other work, he was having trouble leaving his current position. While expressing his frustration, he kept saying, "I can't stand this job!"

Desire and the energy it creates affect our intentions and actions. However, it is important to distinguish between desire motivation and fear motivation. We are either moving toward something we want, or, as my client was, away from something we do not want.

Fear motivation aims to protect and focuses on avoiding penalties for failure. It leads to feelings of inhibition (e.g., "I can't") or compulsion (e.g., "I have to."). Desire motivation seeks rewards for success. It leads to volition (e.g., "I can.") and propulsion (e.g., "I want to.").

Not initially knowing where he would go next, my client was moving "from" an undesired position, mistakenly motivated by penalties for perceived failure. Of course, he had not failed; his job had failed him. The way we express our feelings will shape our beliefs, intentions, and actions, often without our awareness.

My client's initial affirmation, "I can't stand this job," was working to keep him there. The mind is unable to focus on the reverse of an idea. It will delete a negative such as "can't" and move directly to its dominant thought. What he had actually affirmed with strong emotion was, "I stand this job!"

Filled with energetic dislike for his job, he had not only been affirming that he would continue to "stand" his job. He had also intensified his unwanted staying power by mixing strong negative emotion with his words.

He went on to identify the position and job he wanted. Then he began to create statements focusing on rewards for moving to a satisfying and fulfilling position. Within two months, he had acquired a satisfying position with a new company, and, to his delight, an employer who regularly compliments him on his work.

Clearly focus on your desires each day. Ask yourself, "What do I want, exactly?" "What am I moving toward?" Allow your thoughts and words to move you toward your desires with faith in your God-given talents and potential.

For additional information about effectively combining positive emotions with desire, see the article, Affirm Your Intentions - Achieve Your Goals at:

Remember that most successful achievers focus on the rewards of success. Think of one of your strongest desires and imagine what its attainment will make possible for you. The deepest desires of your heart will produce the energy to carry you forward to success. May the rewards of every success that you desire be yours!

Copyright 2005 by Steve Brunkhorst. Steve is a professional life success coach, motivational author, and the editor of Achieve! 60-Second Nuggets of Inspiration, a popular mini-zine bringing great stories, motivational nuggets, and inspiring thoughts to help you achieve more in your career and personal life. Get the next issue by visiting


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