Everyone knows how important it is to “know yourself,” yet how often do we reflect on why we do what we do? Do you really understand what drives you?
Our ideas of self are molded at a very early age. Parents, care givers, and teachers encourage certain behaviors that help us live in a world with our peers. We are encouraged to go-along, to get-along.
Unfortunately, the well-intentioned can send messages counter to our actual nature or personality type. “You are so good at following the rules,” doesn’t acknowledge your ability (and desire) to question arbitrary or unfair rules. We develop a limited, if not warped, sense of self.
In reality, we are each remarkably complex. I wrote about this in my last post, “When and Why Our Values Shift”. Our environment, our culture, and social context contribute to the actions we take; they influence our values and motivations.
According to Johnmarshall Reeve, PsyD, in “Understanding Motivation and Emotion,” (Wiley, 2018), “Through our unique experiences, exposures to particular role models, and awareness of cultural expectations, we acquire different goals, values, attitudes, expectations, aspirations, and views of self.”
What Is Driving You?
All humans have four basic drives that are embedded in our genetic DNA and remain active in us today:
- The drive to acquire – the desire to collect material and immaterial things, like a car, or influence.
- The drive to bond – The desire to be loved and feel valued in our relationships with others.
- The drive to learn – the desire to satisfy our curiosity.
- The drive to defend – the desire to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our property.
These basic drives have helped in our survival as a species. But, what drives us beyond mere survival? How do we go from survive to thrive?
Hierarchy of Values
- Aesthetic: A drive for balance, harmony, and form
- Altruistic: A drive to help others; for humanitarian efforts
- Economic: A drive for economic or practical returns
- Individualistic: A drive to stand out as independent and unique
- Political: A drive to have influence; to be in control
- Regulatory: A drive to establish order, routine, and structure
- Theoretical: A drive for knowledge, learning and understanding
Understanding your individual hierarchy of values—how you rate each value, and how they combine—can help you understand what drives you, and how you can go from survive to thrive.
What do you think? What drives you? I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at here and on LinkedIn.