Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Be honest

I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to be honest. I will explain more later, but I really need to know:

What motivates you in life?

What desires influence the decisions you make--not what circumstances, such as "I only scored 400 on my SAT's so I couldn't go to Princeton". If you could make all of your life choices solely based on your desires, what would you be doing right now, and what desire(s) would have led you to this point?

If you don't want to answer, that's fine.


At 9:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I strive to work for justice and explain things. As a coroner and academic physician, that's what gets me up in the morning.

I also keep myself amused, which is a side benefit.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger sue said...


At 11:24 AM, Blogger : Joseph j7uy5 said...

I prefer to think of motivation as described here:

Cloninger CR, A systematic method for clinical description and classification of personality variants. A proposal. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1987 Jun;44(6):573-88

Motivtion can be modeled mathematically along three dimensions: novelty seeking, harm avoidance, and reward dependence.

If you ask just about desire, which maps roughly to reward dependence, I would have to say that I would still be doing the same thing I do now. The emotional states generated by the perception of honest communication is what is most rewarding to me.

At 12:14 PM, Blogger muse said...

(in no particular order)

"An it harm none, do what you will" (wiccan tenet... it's so cheesy to quote spirituality, but it really is at the core of my actions = i.e. think about the consequences -on yourself, others, the environment- before you act. If it's not harmful to anyone -or is the least harmful choice- then go for it ...and to heck with what others think, i.e. if I want to wear a purple mumu, why not?)

Cultivating deeper relationships with the ones I love (prioritizing time with the ones I love - friends, family, etc.)

Security (decent assurance/odds that I'll be able to pay my bills, buy food, have a roof over my head), in part so that I can start a family soon (have kids)

Working to get rid of debt and buy a house in the woods soon (I see part of home/land ownership as a way to fulfill a certain environment stewardship duty - i.e. leaving my little bit of forest intact for the local fauna/flora)

Actively contributing positively to the world (volunteering, recycling, animal rescue, helping people, etc.) - I'm pretty lucky (health, good job, friends, etc.) so I try to share what I've got

Hmmmm, I guess the Maslow pyramid ( would be a good indication of the order in which I try to "take care of business" (essential needs, relationships, actualization - though I try to always be mindful of my loved ones, no matter what I'm doing... I have my bitchy/grouchy/whiny days, but I try...) ;)

At 12:15 PM, Blogger muse said...

...oh, and what about you? :)

At 12:36 PM, Blogger muse said...

hmmm, I was just about to add that I try to live consciously, as in 'live like this time is precious, don't just be a drone, enjoy the good in each day' (or live like today is your last day), then it got me thinking about your recent breast tumor and all... you're not asking us this because of bad news, are you?? :(

At 1:01 PM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

It's related to my recent health issues, but indirectly. I'm trying to figure out the next step in my life, and I'm finding that I'm not always honest with myself about what my true motivations are or maybe I just have never sat down to really figure them out. I'm going to post about it as soon as I have some real time to get it all out.

All of your responses are so interesting...please keep going.

At 1:35 PM, Blogger muse said...

Phew!! :)

Basically, for me, it all boils down to awareness: knowing myself, being willing to try and work for what I'm interested in (even if the New is always a bit scary), and also willing to drop things that no longer have enough interest/importance for me and accept the changes in me (not resist change out of fear)

I must admit that I'm insecure about lots of things, though, and usually try to plan so that I will be safe enough if things go bad (i.e. be independent, able to take care of myself, have enough personal interests, friends and goals, cultivate new useful - and job-related - skills and contacts, etc.)

I often feel like it could "all" be taken from me, so I try hard to protect myself... hmm, not sure if I explained myself well

At 8:39 PM, Blogger shrinkykitten said...

I am motivated because I know that what I do has a positive effect on the world, even if it is one person at a time. Honestly, my motivation has always been what I call "radical social transformation." I'm no big rabble rouser though, I'm not a protestor, I'm not a picketer. I work best one on one, or when teaching.

I would love to be done with grad school asap, but there is nothing else I want to do besides be a shrink and train others to be shrinks. Okay, I have a couple other things related to my undergrad major - but honestly, I am doing what I am doing because it is my passion -- my mainfest destiny. I have wanted to do this since I was little. I had to do some other things in order to get them out of my system, to learn more about who I am, and to explore interests - but this is who I am at my core.

p.s. I'm worried 'bout you. I'm hoping that this life revision thought process is about what to do with your long life.

At 9:25 PM, Blogger 21st Century Mom said...

Helping people and making a difference motivates me. I'm very middle class, though so that isn't how I make my living. I do, however, do good deeds on a volunteer basis.

Professionally I chose something lucrative because providing for my kids was important but then I chose not to climb the ladder because being with them was even more important. High powered, highly compensated people in my business spend a lot of time traveling. Raising my kids was the very most important thing I cared about for 22 years. Now that they are almost out of the nest I'm rethinking my life and looking at new options. 4.5 years from now (when everyone has graduated from college) there is no telling how I will spend my days.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger Jessica said...

SFTR, I find this question so incredibly interesting because it is a topic that has been weighing on my mind a lot.

I love my job - love the company, what I do and the people in my department. I make a good living and often look forward to coming to work. A few nights ago, though, I was lying in bed reading a book and out of nowhere, this realization hit me like a ton of brick - this is not what I am meant to do with my life.

Granted, I will probably be here for the next fews years due to certain circumstances but this isn't it - this isn't what I am suppose to get out of bed for every day. I have a myriad of ideas as to what it is I should be doing....and I'm trying to sort through those throughts now. It's scary and exciting to me.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger trisha said...

I keep going out of habit.

That and I am following the hope that I will be Me when I grow up.

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

I am going to sound like such a cheeseball here, but what motivates me is love. Honestly. And not love of any one person or thing, or need/desire of love, although all those things play into it. Just...the existance and expression of love.

Feel free now to mock me.

At 1:00 PM, Blogger trisha said...

Love??!!! Love, you say?

Wait. I don't think it is even possible to mock love.

At 9:10 PM, Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

Ohhh, it's possible! :)

At 11:29 PM, Blogger ducklet said...

my kids. and that's cheating, i know, because they have only been around for 7 years, and i've been around for much longer. but it's to the point that when i recreate memories, even back to my youth, they're in them. somehow.

they're usually screaming and breaking stuff, but still.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger BrightStar said...

I answered this question with a blog post.

At 8:39 PM, Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

I blogged about this long ago sort of. More psychologically, I suspect I mostly want to be loved. Loved and understood. Admired is nice. Loved is better. Being feared I like a little in concept, but not in practice, at least I think. I dunno. Maybe I just need someone to dress up in scanty leather and dominate me, but I haven't realized it yet.

At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope motivates me. I'm working a truly shit job and trying to pay off some bills and stuff before I can start back at uni..and I hope that I do get into the uni I want to get into, that I'll be successful in what I do and that I will eventually be a researcher. So I'm keeping on going because I hope that it's temporary and that it is a means to an end.

At 10:19 AM, Blogger trisha said...


I am driven by hope, too, but in a different way. I am trying desperately to have hope.

At 6:32 PM, Blogger James said...

God, I'm so out of the loop lately ... ughhhhhhhh. Anyway, to the question:

"What motivates you in life? "

The desire to be good in something, the desire to have made some sort of contribution in some way, and the desire to not have let life pass me by, to grab what I can, and to do my best to enjoy, enjoy, and enjoy some more.


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