The 4 Types of Motivation

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Most people think of motivation as a singular concept with many things that can generate it. I see motivation as having 4 different types and they involve both the conscious mind and subconscious mind.

In order to understand how the different types of motivation work we need to go over how the two minds are conditioned. There is a fundamental difference between the conscious mind and subconscious mind that is the basis for the 4 types of motivation.

The subconscious mind makes associations based on consistent patterns looking for a link between cause and effect. One of the primary links it looks for is the link between events and emotions. In fact your subconscious mind not only looks for links to your emotions, it’s in control of all of your emotions.

It’s true we feel like we can generate emotions from our conscious mind. However what is really happening is the actions of the conscious mind are giving commands to the subconscious mind which then is what creates the emotions you and I feel. This is why emotions can be so hard to control sometimes because the subconscious mind can generate them all on its own.

If you still don’t believe this idea? I want you to go find a newborn baby. When we are born our conscious mind is practically nonexistent, we are operating primarily on our subconscious mind. If you watch a newborn baby for more than 5 minutes you will discover they are very emotional. The reason is babies use emotions to communicate because they lack the conscious ability to communicate using language.

I know you want to believe you are consciously in control of your emotions and for the most part you are. Look at it this way. If you had a remote control car and you were driving it around you would technically be in control of the cars actions yet at the same time the car is doing all the work and really creating the action. Your mind works the same way. Your subconscious generates all your emotions but you can guide them.

Not only does the subconscious generate all emotions, it uses emotions as a guide for decision-making which is the important key to remember in regards to motivation. Our subconscious is driven by emotion, which means one part of the motivation puzzle is emotionally generated.

The conscious mind processes information in a very different way. It uses an analytical process of asking and answering questions based on logic. You may not always be aware of the questions being asked yet they are there. Logic is the second key to understanding the different types of motivation.

So now we have two concepts that influence motivation (emotions and logic). That is the major difference between the different types of motivation. So how do we get to 4 different types?

Both emotions and logic have two different sides to them, that being positive and negative. We have positive emotions that drive our actions one way and negative emotions that drive our actions in a different way. The same is true of logic; we have positive logic and negative logic.

All motivation comes from the reasons we have for doing something. If you don’t have a reason to do something you won’t do it. This is what creates the 4 different types of motivation.

4 types of motivation:

  1. Negative Logical Reasons
  2. Negative Emotional Reasons
  3. Positive Logical Reasons
  4. Positive Emotional Reasons

Negative Logical Reasons: I wanted to start with this one because it is the most useless (not a typo). Yes, I said useless. Of the 4 types of motivation this one is the weakest. In fact in my coaching sessions I don’t even bother trying to use this one. This is telling a smoker they will die from cancer, or an overweight person they will die from a heart attack. These things almost never work and here is the reason why. Logic is conscious driven and the conscious mind’s objective is to achieve pleasure and discover new things. These types of things just are ignored by the conscious mind. The only way they ever work is if they generate the second type of motivation.

Negative Emotional Reasons: This is a powerful form of motivation because it taps into what drives the subconscious mind. This is what happens when people get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Sometimes this condition is called “hitting rock bottom” however it doesn’t need to be that extreme in order to be effective. Your subconscious mind’s main objective is survival and that means avoiding pain. When you can generate emotional pain you will become subconsciously driven to make a change. This is very useful for getting you started.

There is one major drawback to this type of motivation. As you start to take action to change something in your life, most likely you will start to get some kind of result. As you get more results the pain that created this motivation becomes weaker and weaker until you hit the point of not having enough pain to keep you going. The best way to keep moving in the right direction is with the third type of motivation.

Positive logical Reasons: Unlike negative logical reasons this one has a great effect on the conscious mind. The more positive reasons you can come up with to keep you moving forward the more likely you will succeed. Always have a list readily available so you can look at it anytime. This type of motivation is great for keeping a person going.

The problem with this type is it lacks the ability to get people started with change. The reason is it only conditions the conscious mind and usually the subconscious mind isn’t on board with the change keeping you from starting.

These are the people that will tell you come Monday they are starting the gym, yet when Monday comes they always have an excuse as to why they couldn’t. They will give you reason after reason why they are going to really start this time and they believe every reason but they never get started. These people are not lazy they are just being held back by their subconscious mind’s fear of change. Let’s now look at the final type of motivation.

Positive Emotional Reasons: This type can be useful when you need to fill in the gaps of your motivation. Usually you find this motivation when people see a speaker or read a positive thinking book. It can be very powerful but very short-lived. It’s like riding a roller coaster where you go from the very high to the very low. Think of it like coffee where it is a bad idea to use to keep you going all the time but good for short bursts when needed.

Well there you have the 4 types of motivation. I hope you are able to use this information to start making the needed changes in your life. Remember motivation is all about reasons.