motives behind your decisions

What if I told you that every decision of yours is based on the motives you are not even aware of?

The idea of motivation is an incredibly interesting concept to consider. Different people will always attribute their reasoning to different driving forces, or motivations, for them to be working toward. Whether it’s drawing on religion for definitive goals, asserting our own positions through our actions and accomplishments, working toward a specific end for the betterment of self or others, or simply abolishing boredom, we all cite varying causes or goals which drive our motives. And there are always the perpetual ulterior motives we all base our actions on, typically rooted in animalistic instincts, which we often won’t even admit to ourselves as being a mandating factor in our decisions.

I’ll bet that a lot of people, as they read this, would automatically be thinking “oh but my motives are pure, I’m really not trying to passively hurt that person who hurt me,” or, “I’m learning to play guitar so I can feel better about myself, not to impress that girl.” To those of who you automatically jumped in your minds to these justifications, I want you to stop and ask yourself, why is it so important to yourself that you believed this justification intrinsically? Consider for a moment that your “bad” motives, whether ulterior and hidden from yourself or if you’re fully cognizant of them in some capacity, aren’t actually bad. If you are learning to play guitar to impress that girl and she ends up marrying you, you have 5 children and 2 of them become scientists, one cures cancer, and another becomes the best president America has ever had, then aren’t you glad to have learned to play that guitar? Or, maybe she gives you a reason to smile and keep moving on in life, helping others as you go, because you’re genuinely happy; is that such a bad, evil, and selfish reason? Do you need to create justifications for this simply because “impressing a girl” has been deemed a selfish motive?

And realize, how can we even answer this to ourselves, in this world where society has driven standard media-based perceptions of good and evil; in which many of our base instincts, what makes us human, mortal, and free willed, have become perceived as bad? 

How can we say what our motivation really is in any action or decision we might make when we’re all trained to disregard the reality of what we are for the sake of building an external image? Are we even equipped to see through the fog of the dreary marshland which is this politically based society, as mandated by media and religious persecution, to admit to ourselves while maintaining self-respect that our motivation just might be something as basic as greed, lust, or pride? I don’t think that we can.

But I also don’t think that any of us should look at motivation this way. In one of those things which we are ill equipped to understand, I believe it is of utmost importance that we all do what we can to help those around us to be happy and actively avoid hurting others, disregarding the why behind our actions and ignoring our political standing. I believe that our precise motivation is irrelevant and, as long as we act toward worldly and spiritual growth without focusing on mundane aspects, then our subconscious is handling our motivations well enough. For, why care to define a motivation behind an action which is taken, when what’s truly important is that, at the end of the day, you can smile and laugh with those you care about; especially when my opinion really is that it’s impossible for people to define the reason for their actions.

In my opinion, the real reason it is so hard for people to define their basis for motive is because all forms of motivation play into all of our decisions: political standing, financial recompense, spiritual growth, physical growth, sexual desire, etc. I believe that in every decision we make our subconscious, at least, is taking all of these aspects into consideration in order to try to come up with the most progressive answer for our course of action. Obviously, a lot of our decisions are consciously conceived through a significant amount of deliberation, possibly even making a “pro and con” chart to get a better understanding of how it affects us. Taking that into consideration, though, how do you think we come up with items to put on the pro and con list? What is our subconscious mind going through in prioritizing what comes to mind as effective additions to this list? When we think of a con in a decision and decide that it’s not a good enough con to add to the list, what motivations drove us to decide to leave that off?

To further express this point, have you ever heard of the “toss a coin” decision? Essentially, assign what heads means, flip the coin, and if you hope it lands on heads while it’s in the air, then regardless of what the coin does, what you subconsciously want was just revealed to you.  More to this end, if the coin lands on heads and you have a pang of disappointment, then you officially know what you wanted the coin to tell you to do.

Obviously, I’m not saying let coins make your decisions, don’t do that…

So, what is it that creates our motivations? What is it that makes us interested in pursuing a singular direction in our careers? What spawns our attraction in other people’s ideals? How can we know that we’re doing what we believe to be right because our intentions are pure? Why do we care the way a coin flips?

To me, I say it doesn’t much matter the why (as fascinating as it may be to delve into your own psychology), only the effect. Our world is just as much prefaced on causality as it is in political and societal standing, ironically both complimenting the other and so I say disregard your motivation and just strive to stay motivated to help. In this, the results will cause invariable growth, and you won’t end up insane trying to get your coin to land on heads in a game of “best 251 out of 500.”

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Nick Harding

Nick Harding

I'm an automation engineer who started out with just a drafting degree, but didn't want to stop learning. Ideally every day I find someone who needs help and do whatever I can to make their day. I enjoy expressing myself, whether it's through writing, story telling, singing or playing guitar; I love to teach others, as well as myself. My strongest drive is the interest in learning everything I can know, and speculating on topics that I can't. I know many people will react with the question, "an engineer with an open mind!?" Yes, I find it hard to disbelieve the things which we can see - since I am able to see energy, I am able to consider other potentials which are also deemed "non-scientific".