Motivation Is Not Enough

Motivation is Not Enough

Since the dawn of civilization, motivation has been used to urge people to learn something or do something. For the majority of our existence on this planet, Mother Nature was all the motivation any of our ancestors ever needed. It was really simple, “Learn and change, or die.” So, we learned, and kept on learning until now, when many of us have the luxury of never having been hungry or without shelter.

As a species, we have succeeded in becoming so materially prosperous that our physical wealth has given rise to even greater problems. We have learned that full stomachs, comfortable beds, and an infinite variety of toys and distractions will not bring us the relationships, peace, contentment, or security we are actually seeking.

Today we are even more motivated than ever before because we realize that material wealth is a disappointingly small part of the overall path to fulfillment. We must look elsewhere for the answers. Motivation is still the method most used to try to inspire us to change, but motivation is not enough because Motivation is not a skill for change; it is only the reason for change. If we truly need to do something different so our life can be better, wanting to is not enough. We must learn HOW to do it.

We are living in times of incredible change. We are evolving from an industrial society to an informational society. What it will look like when we get there is not known at this time, but most of us realize we must acquire some new skills if we are to survive the shift in good shape.

What we need right now is to understand what we need and help developing the skills to live in an informational age. Actually, they are the very same mental skills that have been used by all successful people since man became man. They are thinking skills.

The skills we need to know for the future have to do with how to process the information we need to move our lives forward. We need to learn to see our thoughts and experiences as information, experiences, and emotions. Then we can see the skills and processes become more important than the information itself.

The workplace has changed and will continue to change. Personal security is not to be found in a job and we will be changing careers multiple times in our working life so our ability to keep our work skills relevant will become even more important. We must learn the thinking skills that will keep us current no matter what happens.  We don’t need more motivation, we need more, and better, skills.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

© 2017 Douglas McKee

Personality Process


The above graphic is a “spectrum” which depicts the 16 Myers-Briggs Personality types. From potential lunacy and depravity on one end, to wisdom and sainthood on the other, our thought processes are habits. They vary only in the amount of wisdom they contain.

Such a classification of individuals as Myers Briggs, is based on how people generally answered a set of questions regarding their preferences. It may “correlate” with an ability to predict their behavior in a lot of scenarios but, so what? It fails to rightly view an individual as having a repertoire of viable choices from which to choose.

We each have every one of the 16 types at our disposal and use them as situations dictate. As we drive down a busy freeway surrounded by thousands of other drivers, we can be assured each of the 16 types are represented in their calculated percentages. Again, so what? All of them, regardless of their “type” are out there driving successfully. Two hundred million Americans drive THREE TRILLION miles each year with very few accidents. That shows personality type has nothing to do with the ability to process a lot of data successfully.

How many studies do the experts have reporting number like those? There are even larger studies available which support the same conclusion. Studies like these indicate more than just driving statistics.

They indicate a real necessity for a radically different perspective regarding Personality; one which can empower us to take control of our lives. Disassembling our thoughts into their component processes not only yields a workable and understandable concept of personality, it clearly shows how thinking errors are responsible for our problems and how we can correct erroneous thinking habits. Personality becomes a process for empowering the individual.

From this perspective of how humans use information and process their thoughts, “Personality” can be defined as the situation specific use of our knowledge and skills. Another way to look at personality is that it is a unique collection of thinking processes each individual develops which define, predict, facilitate, and limit that individual’s ability to interact with his or her environment.”

“Personality traits” are the individual thought processes (actions or reactions) chosen among that either dictate how to behave, or potentially give the individual a strategic advantage, in differing situations.

If we want to see how these definitions may correlate to real life, consider this. The ability to choose among personality traits and respond appropriately to differing situations is, by itself, an indicator of successful functioning of the personality. Wow. If our personality is functioning well, we respond appropriately in different situations. This appears to be so obviously true it needs no proof.

Habituation is the process our brain uses to turn a learning experience into a habit. All that is needed to form a new habit is repetition. This is the basic process by which trait function or dysfunction is established. Either we learned to process that trait appropriately, or we didn’t. Our brain doesn’t care. Caring is a different process.

We each have numerous personalities. We have one for work, one for family, one for the bedroom, one for the boardroom, one for our chosen field, one for the football field, one for our friends and one for our enemies. We can switch effortlessly from one to another in mid stride, or mid thought as the case may be, to handle the situation in which we find ourselves at the moment. We do so many times each day.

Each different aspect of our overall personality is actually the result of processing our unique database of information, experiences, and emotions according to different traits. Granted, we may out of habit, choose to be shy or even rudely arrogant, but those are just habitual responses to situations. We can change those if we care to.

“Mental Illness” can be defined as the inability to choose among traits. This results in using a few habitual thought processes to handle he majority of situations.

The primary goal of therapy would be to reestablish the ability to choose by stimulation of the other traits to restore the ability to choose a more appropriate response rather than to seek understanding of why one trait has become dominant.

Subsequent therapeutic goals would be inspection and repair of specific trait functionality.

It just seems to me that I would rather have my behavior explained based on a series of processes I am habitually using to make choices, and then be shown how to make different, and hopefully better, choices for the future.

© 2017 Douglas McKee