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The motor of life: Motivation

“Conciliate a covetous man by means of a gift, an obstinate man with folded hands in salutation, a fool by humouring him, and a learned man by truthful words.”- Chanakya Neeti.
Any person can be driven or stopped! It’s only a matter of knowing his motive power. Any person’s cooperation can be secured once we satisfy his motivation. And in this era wherein emphasis is being laid on teamwork and coordination it’s a must that we have a more systematic approach towards it. Officially, Motivation might be defined as the “driving force within individuals which impels them to action.” Yet, this idea has been widely prevalent and practiced in India for ages. (Apropos the above quotation)
After having read many of the modern motivation theories I’m bound to say that they present a very peripheral understanding of the psychology of man. They’re right only to certain extent. Throughout the early 20th century, when material affluence was in the building and not completely achieved, many were prophesizing that once material affluence and security is firmly established man’s happiness would be absolute.
And if today’s situation is any indication, they were wrong. Far from relieving himself from problems, man is reaping the wages of incorrect understanding of his own self. And modern day philosophers are to a very great extent responsible to this out of sync understanding.
Even though there are many theories explaining these, I’ll quote 2 basic sources of all these theories. The sources from whom all theories can be traced back to.
The will to pleasure” and “the will to power” are the 2 wills which are most quoted. The will to pleasure assumes that all actions of man are due to his inclination to seek pleasure. Well, true to some extent. But if this is so, then why do people continue to act harder and harder in pursuits which may not give them joy. Here’s where the will to power gives a more plausible explanation. Man acts sometimes to the detriment of his own cause in order to achieve power. The will to dominate others, to surpass others is found to be a very predominant source of motivation. Thus, the reason why he does certain things even though we don’t like them is answered.
From this will springs the “need to feel important”.(another post to come soon on this topic). This need when perverted causes irreparable damage to man, both mentally and physically. Oftentimes people do some seriously funny things out of vanity. It’s most easy to appeal to the vanity of any person. It’s easier than logic by all means, because very often logic – the supreme weapon of man is subordinated to vague feelings and whims. Logic does have its own limitations, accepted! Yet, that must not be reason enough to distrust our own balanced mind to superstitions whose authority is no more than mere convention. Self-importance naturally gives rise to self-righteousness which permanently seals any scope of improvising. There might be some extreme happiness in this, yet few isolated events of elation hardly sum up to a worthwhile whole.
An intimate friend of mine years ago informed me that man is not meant to be a mere chance and chaos, its in fact purpose and principles which form the foundation of worthwhile existence. Years that have passed by have only helped me to strengthen the belief. His personality never gave any occasion of doubt, for he used to be the very soul of integrity and principled-living. I was wondering if the whole set of modern age philosophers have missed so crucial a point. And I’m glad to eat my words (although only partially) when I found that not only has a certain person touched this point, he’s also developed a whole new thesis based on this, and his following is by no means ordinary.
I’m referring to Viktor Frankl and his book “Man’s search for meaning” and of course his concept of logotherapy (literally meaning therapy through meaning). And here comes that 3rd theory: The Will to Meaning.
Contrary to the belief that meaning is a secondary drive and not in the same level of the innate drives, meaning is the actually the synthesis of all the drives, the central nervous system upon whom all the rest depend for proper functioning. We think that all we need is a static happy life without any tensions and problems. That is in any case what we dream of.
Let me quote Frankl himself, for any interpretation in this particular instance is unnecessary “ I consider it a dangerous misconception of mental hygiene to assume that what man needs in the first place is equilibrium or, as it is called in biology, “homeostasis”, i.e., a tensionless state. What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of the potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him. What man needs is not homeostasis but what I call “nod-dynamics” i.e. the existential dynamics in the polar field of tension where one pole is represented by meaning that is to be fulfilled and the other pole by the man who has to fulfill it.”
This probably explains all that needs to be explained. Why few people who are otherwise quite well off in the eyes of others lead a depressed life constantly contemplating suicidal thoughts, while others who are amid unsustainable problems still find hope to battle negatives and strength to face them. The matter is whether they’ve found any meaning in their life or not?


  1. I beg to differ .. see for me .. life is very simple and philosophies can be put to rest. I mean think about it .. why do I need a philosophy to live by ??? why ??? Am I so dependent ? am i so weak that i need someone to show me the guidelines by which i should live .. am I so open a book that ppl can in three simple laws describe the motive behind each of my action .. I do not think so . . .

    Its an excellent write up though .. dude rule of blogville .. ppl visit only if u visit their blogs and make a relation with them ... You should do that ... cause you write well .. much much better than many losers on blogville

  2. Good one..
    in everyone's life there comes a point where he depends on his philosophies...u need one for sure...thats what i feel

  3. Great one as usual, Maddy... but I do have one thing for you... a dialogue from 'The Dark Knight'...


    What do you do about those people? What motivation could they possibly have? How do you target them?

    But brilliant, as usual. You write REALLY well.

  4. i always say that i respect ur wisdom true to the words its a great work
    but i find problem in getting this
    you said motivation based upon 'will to pleasure ' n 'need to feel important'

    i contradict by giving 2 ex
    suppose a person saw that his brother is being beatten by two person than automatical he will go and indulge in fight. here i see his attachment with bro and need for security motivate him to act

    similarlily suppose the person is working just to fulfil his belly again here his motivation 2 work will be security 2 live
    if i m wrong feel free 2 reply or correct me

    Amit singh


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