The Most Powerful Motivator

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November 8, 2016 by Jeff Lowen

In reading an article in Psychology Today, I confirmed what my travels around Tony Robbins and Dale Carnegie had taught. People are motivated by fear – first and foremost. Sure they are also motivated by pleasure and reward as well, yet if you ask all the so called gurus, fear is at the top of the list. Etched into our DNA as many PhD.’s would have us believe.

I’m no shrink, nor do I pretend to be one on TV, so my interpretation of this is vague at best. However, I’ve always wondered why all of Randle McMurphy’s (a.k.a. Jack Nicholson) friends in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, never really left the hospital detoxed and cured. Of course, Prot left and went back to K-PAX, but that’s another story.

It’s no wonder that many advertisements target this nerve. Much science has gone into the fear-based marketing approach that causes people to act. Real estate is no different. I see email ads from coaching and business organizations for real estate agents to the ads created by the agents themselves that target “the 5 things you’re doing wrong,” or “10 reasons why you’ll fail selling your home,” or “why your real estate company is the wrong choice for you.” The list goes on and on.

Have we really evolved into a society where this scare-tactic-mentality is acceptable? Never so obvious as in the past election campaigns from both candidates. Or during a fear-cropped-proto-custom_28commercial break as a pharmaceutical company peddles their latest drug and why, as an innocent bystander, you need it more than ever.

I’m a big believer in managing and using your emotions to guide you in a positive way. That if you feel offended about something, it’s because you are unable to manage your own emotions and are giving up that empowering perspective to someone else, sometimes a complete stranger.

It’s said that Americans are bombarded by advertisement, brand and label placement everywhere and by every medium. Ads sneak into our lives almost as if we don’t notice. Remember when TV went to Cable? Touted as no ads… What about Sattelite radio? Ad free. The internet started that way, too. We’re not only subject to thousands of ads throughout the course of our lives, most people complain about this and at the same time pay for the services that bring the canvas on which the advertisers paint.

What does all this have to do with motivation? Regardless of whether you care about how carefully hypnotized you are by the effect of strategically placed ads in your path that get you to act on someone or something under the illusion that it’s you making the choice; is really more of a question of education and awareness.

Would it be helpful to know yourself and your emotions to the point of being able to consciously use fear to move you in a direction of your own choosing? To get you to act on the business you’ve wanted to start. To get you to pack up those boxes and get rid of the clutter. To be more confident, outgoing, or to speak in front of an audeience. What is the opposite of fear? Love? If you ask a group of single people what the opposite of love is, I doubt you’d get fear. They’d say hate, I’m certain. However, if you’re married, you know love and hate can be just that close, huh? 😉

Vanessa Van Edwards is the lead behavioral investigator for The Science of People. She has some very interesting things to say about how you can become better at being you. Check out her site and her biz.

I teach negotiating principles and tactics to business pros and one of the most important principles to consider is how you and the others you negotiate with are handling, managing and displaying their emotions, so although I don’t possess a shrink degree, I can tell you that one of the most overlooked gifts we have engrained in our existence – is our emotions.

Learning to better manage your emotions to empower your own life on your own terms is a quest worthy of any price. It can only make your life better… And, isn’t that what we all want, anyway?


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