Sunday, June 18, 2017

Positive vs. negative Motivation

Positive vs negative Motivation

Why positive motivation is better for your brain


I just scrolled through my LinkedIn news feed and noticed plenty of negative quotes. You find them on all social networking sites. 

Motivation is the sum of motives for our readiness to act which means our pursuit of goals or targets based on emotional and neuronal activity. 

Today we will not look at the topic in its complexity, but just pick out one factor constantly in front of our eyes. We will neither look at sources for motivation nor different models.

"Negative motivation" can be defined as something we do out of fear or to avoid certain consequences, but we will further simplify today and use the term for:

Negative motivation on social media


What's the problem with that?

You can hate to lose or love to win.

The word "hate" is a strong word that triggers reactions in your brain. Feeling hatred towards someone, especially in a professional environment, is rare. 

I think most of the time people who post quotes about jealousy, haters and such are not aware what they are doing to their brains. 

Our small minds cannot process everything around us. Our brain pick which parts of the infinite plethora of things around us it will show us. Our brain ignores negations.

We might not even be serious when we post about "the sum of our haters" - but tell that to our brain. 

Does that mean that negative motivation should never be used? 

When to use negative motivation


Negative motivation can be helpful if you are dealing with a disaster. If something happens that is so painful that we don't know how to move on, negative motivation can be a good short-term solution. 

When to use negative motivation
Picture Credit: TheOdysseyOnline.com


It is helpful to avoid and damage and deal with disaster. To that extent, and that extent only, it is a fabulous tool to help us survive disaster. 

It does not serve us long-term, though. It will not be long before it feasts on its host. Negativity is exhausting. The satisfaction of proving someone wrong does not last long. Doing something "because they said I can't" will not be strong enough to keep you going for a long time. 

We give people that hurt us and situations that were painful power if we substitute our higher goal with negative motivation and keep reminding ourselves on all the negatives.

To sum things up


Both forms of affirmations, negative and positive, can give you power for that moment. Positive motivation is side-effect free. Negative motivation is an energy thief because part of your attention shifts to all the negative things and people around you.

You will see more of that and a shift in your expectation will lead to you getting more of that. The same is true for positive words like "love" "support" "help".

Instead of "Punishing your haters with your success" you could "reward yourself". The strongest goal is a positive, higher goal.

Let's not give negative people too much credit by giving them an importance they do not have. Focus on yourself!


YOU are worth it!