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Are You Using The Right Motivation?

Written by: Vasilisa Lukyanenka, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Have you ever thought about motivation from the perspective of the driving force behind it? What fuels your motivation?

We can be driven to action by two forces: “away from” or “towards.”

“Away from” force will be a desire to avoid something and escape from a certain situation. It’s accompanied by such emotions and states as fear, overwhelm, stress, anxiety, worry, and tension.

“Towards” force will be about being curious, passionate, and interested in doing something. Usually, you will have the following emotions: excitement, joy, empowerment, passion, and enthusiasm.

Let’s take a closer look at how the two kinds of motivation affect your life.

“Away from” motivation

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where,” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat. (“Alice in Wonderland”)

The “away from” motivation can be compared to a burning chair. You focus on jumping out of it, and you don’t care much where to go as long as you leave this unbearable place ASAP.

Can you remember the moments when you were doing something driven by the fear of the consequences? I myself can recollect quite a few such memories, especially from my childhood when I would be doing something because I didn’t want to be punished, not because I liked doing it.

When we grow up, we become those adults for ourselves, criticizing ourselves to have more control and to avoid bad consequences. What happens as a result? There are a few scenarios:

Scenario 1. You get things done; you do what is right or what others say is right. Your life might be lacking flexibility, creativity, and ease because you are constantly looking for the next problem to solve and are ignoring pleasant things in life. You might find yourself at times lost and having no purpose in life. You can be confused about what you are trying to achieve in your life. Since you are too focused on running away from something, it doesn’t matter what you are running towards.

Scenario 2. You don’t get things done or procrastinate a lot and sabotage yourself. But you still hold on to fears and self-criticism. There’s a lot of resistance in your life, and your whole life looks like you are forcing yourself into doing things. There’s a lot of guilt present at the same time and a feeling of stuckness and discontent.

“Towards” motivation

I’m sure all people have experienced “towards” motivation in their lives, even if their dominant motivation style is “away from.”

Can you remember yourself being full of passion, enthusiasm, anticipation, and not caring about the outcome? It can be a hobby, your work, or some activity that you absolutely love doing. In such moments there’s no need to control, push or force yourself. This is how one is experiencing ‘towards’ motivation.

My clients often tell me about what they are motivated to run away from. These are usually bad relationships, unsatisfying jobs, boring life, negative emotions, etc. I always start with the question: “Then where do you want to be instead? What do you want to be moving towards?”

This is when a real shift starts happening. Because one of the most common answers is: “I never really thought about it.”

And once they start just thinking about it, their faces change, their emotional state changes, and it all suddenly becomes clear.

Some of you may say: “I know what I want, but I’m still suffering where I am.” It means you are focused on where you are more than on where you want to be, and you are still using the “away from” motivation. You use negative emotions and self-doubt to limit yourself and stay stuck.

It’s up to you to be intentional about the motivation you choose every day and every hour. Away from or towards?

You don’t need to start with a huge long-term vision of what you want to achieve. Start with a day, a week, a month, or 6 months.

Ask yourself today:

  • What do I want to move towards today?

  • What is interesting about the task at hand?

  • What will make this day more enjoyable?

  • How do I want to feel by the end of the day, and how can I make it happen?

Use the answers to these questions as a compass for your day. Keep them at hand and use them to get back on track if you find yourself sidetracked.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Vasilisa Lukyanenka, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Vasilisa Lukyanenka is an Emotional Intelligence and High-Performance Coach. She has been through an immense transformation in her life with the help of Emotional Intelligence. She successfully completed several coaching courses and is a lifelong learner in the fields of Emotional Intelligence, Transformational and Existential Psychology. Currently, her main focus is on organizational coaching. She helps leaders and teams remove walls and build bridges instead by developing communication, empathy, collaboration, trust, and understanding within companies. She has helped a lot of people realize their true potential, find their meaning in life, gain control over their emotions, and become happy and fulfilled. Vasilisa is able to see the inner power every human has, and she has made it her mission to help others tap into it!


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