to date, indicating how often paradoxical intervention (in therapy or
self-help) exacerbates the problem. This is crucial information to get.
Chapter 4, focusing on understanding behavior, has a lengthy
section about motivation. Method #5 in chapter 11 describes ways of
increasing your level of motivation. You should read those sections
along with this one. I believe most of the time you need to be
intensely motivated to make difficult changes in your life. That
probably means working on only one or two changes at a time.
We have all known highly motivated people; they are eager,
driven, determined, confident, single-minded, and obsessed. Strong
motives take us in many directions: saints and crooks, stars and
repeated failures, love and hate, awe-inspiring and disgusting. Think of
Lincoln studying law by candle light in New Salem. Think of Gandhi
fasting. Think of the work to become a champion in any area. Edison
said, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." What makes us
want to sweat that much? We have burning needs; we strive for
meaning and values; we seek external pay offs and self-satisfaction
with zeal; we develop keen interests.
Some of our drives may be innate--the natural condition of the
species. But, certainly, many motives are learned, so they can be
changed. For instance, Adler (1951) thought children quickly learned
they were inferior and spent a lifetime striving for superiority. Field
Theory says that environmental forces and the ways we have learned
to view our situations determine our incentives, goals, and intentions.
Social Learning Theory suggests that motivation depends on observing
how to get the rewards we want in the environment and our faith in
our ability (self-efficacy) to do it. Attribution theory states that
achievers have learned that they are able to succeed, that hard work
increases the chances of success, that learning about themselves
facilitates success, and that succeeding is enjoyable and worthwhile. If
you want to succeed but haven't learned those things, you can if you
All of us are pushed in many directions by many powerful
physiological, social-cultural, and psychological needs. Most of us
yearn for food, air, shelter, sex, affiliation, love, self-acceptance,
achievement, power, mastery, self-actualization, etc. Those needs
increase our motivation in various specific, usually positive directions.
Moreover, there are drives and emotions that push us in many
negative directions, such as feelings of inferiority that become self-
fulfilling prophecies, desires to avoid responsibility and success, beliefs