James Harvey Stout (deceased). This material is now in the public
domain. The complete collection of Mr. Stout's writing is now at
Jump to the following topics:
- What is motivation?
- What is the source
for exploring our motivation.
What is motivation? It is the
dynamic by which we are driven to perform a particular action. When
we are motivated, we feel an urge arise unbidden from our depths. We
are ready; we feel that the time is right; we know that "this is what
I am supposed to be doing"; we want to do it regardless of our
previous failures, or any rationales to the contrary, or any pain or
difficulty which we will encounter.
What is the source
- The ego. The ego's motivation is to create our human world,
e.g., our home, income, social life, a healthy body, etc.
- The soul. The soul's motivation is to explore the archetypes
of spirit; we discern soul's motivation through intuition. This
motivation is not contrary to the motivation of ego or the a-field
- Ego. Soul respects the ego's drive to create our human
world, because that human world is the arena in which soul will
function for its study of archetypes.
- Charged a-field elements. Soul does not interfere with the
dynamic by which the previous elements discharge themselves.
The soul uses all of these experiences -- the pretty and the
ugly -- as a means for learning about the dynamics of spirit
and its archetypes.
- Defaults. In addition to the motivation from ego and soul,
there are motivations which derive from various dynamics and
mental functions. These modes of motivation are mechanical
defaults which we use when we are not directed by the fresh,
creative guidance of intuition.
- Charged archetypal-field elements. In every situation, we
are confronting archetypes. Intuition can guide us in
generating the particular elements (i.e., thoughts, images,
energy tones, and actions) which constitute an appropriate
response to those archetypes. However, if we are not aware of
intuition (or if we ignore it), our thoughts, imagery, energy
tones, and actions will not be entirely appropriate; for
example, we will not say exactly what needs to be said. Because
of this inappropriateness, the elements do not fully discharge
their charge; instead, when they leave their permanent record
in the archetypal field, there is a charge which lingers. It is
this charge which compels us to recreate the archetypal
situation for the specific purpose of discharging the residual
energy. Thus, much of our motivation derives from these charged
elements; for example, if we have generated hateful thoughts
toward "irresponsible people," we will be compulsively
motivated to perform irresponsible acts until we have resolved
the charge. (This compulsion is often called "karma.")
- Values. During a decision-making process, the mind refers
to our "values"; for example, if we must decide between a
high-paying job and an enjoyable job, the mind might discover
that we value "enjoyment." We feel motivated to comply with our
values; contrarily, when we do not comply with our
values, we experience the painful sensation of "guilt." When we
are motivated by our values, we are energized and excited; we
find the drive and desire and resources to endeavor, and we
feel satisfaction when the goals are reached, regardless of
people's reaction. What we have achieved is real to us, because
it satisfies our values. But if we accept other people's values
as our own, we probably feel a weaker drive and an emptiness at
the conclusion (if we had enough enthusiasm to persist toward
the completion at all).
- Desire. Motivation is the psychological process which is
triggered when we experience desire.
- Pleasure and pain. Although the motivation of ego and soul
might lead us into activities which are incidentally painful,
we are generally motivated by a desire to achieve pleasure or
avoid pain. (Even then, we are motivated by pleasure and pain,
because we feel fulfillment when we comply with our values, and
we feel guilt if we do not comply.) These are two different
motivations; some people are influenced primarily by a desire
for pleasure, but other people's lives are guided mostly by
their aversion to discomfort. The first group experiences more
satisfaction and fun; we can join that group by expressing our
goals in a positive way; for example, our motivation can be to
earn money "for our family and our own comfort," rather than to
earn money "to stay out of debt."
for exploring our motivation.
- Archetypal field-work.
- Self-talk. For example: "I am a responsible person." "I
feel good when I fulfill my duties." "I can find something
interesting in everything that I do." "Life is a fascinating
adventure." "I enjoy exploring the many facets of life."
- Directed imagination. We can visualize ourselves performing
a task which needs to be performed.
- Energy toning. To motivate ourselves, we can cultivate the
energy tones of pleasure, excitement, passion, exhilaration,
- The "as if" principle. There is a time for examining our
motivation -- but when the introspection degenerates into
rationalization and psychologizing, we need to cease the
introspection, and then turn to the chore and "just do it,"
acting "as if" we are motivated.
- Intuition. Intuition can assist us in various ways, with
regard to our motivation:
- Intuition can suggest goals which naturally motivate us.
- Intuition can reveal our contrary motivations. For example,
if we have not been motivated to study for an exam, intuition
might show us that we have a "fear of success" (and so we
secretly want to fail the exam).
- We can explore will and willpower. Will is the psychological
function by which we direct our attention and actions toward the
goal for which we are motivated; in contrast, willpower is the
default which we employ to force ourselves to pursue a goal
for which we are not motivated.
- We can examine the defaults by which we are motivated when we
are not driven by ego and soul. As listed previously, those
defaults are values, desire, and pleasure.
- We can explore our "positive intention" (as it is called by
Ken Keyes, Jr.). Sometimes we are motivated to do something which
is destructive to ourselves and/or to other people. At those
times, we can search for our underlying "positive intention"; for
example, if we are motivated to overeat because we like the
physical sensation, we might satisfy our positive intention (to
experience sensation) by substituting eating with exercising,
sports, sex, or another physical activity. Keyes said, "How do you
identify your positive intention? Just ask yourself what you would
experience inside if you got what you want. When you go behind
what you're doing or saying in the moment -- behind the
goal you're wanting to accomplish -- you will recognize the
reason for your goal. You are trying: (1) to see yourself
as, or 2) to hear inside that you're, or (3) to
feel secure, comfortable, lovable, loved, alive, strong,
capable, worthy, etc. ... Remember, a beneficial, positive
intention is always a desired internal experience -- not an
action or goal." (The Power of Unconditional Love,
copyright 1990 by Love Line Books.)
- We can enhance the ways in which we motivate other people.
Parents motivate their children; teachers motivate their students;
bosses motivate their employees. We tend to motivate people
through an external system, in which we give pleasure (e.g.,
compliments) or pain (e.g., humiliation). These external rewards
are useful and necessary, but they can cause problems: external
rewards can distract people from their internal reward system, and
external punishments can cause fear, resentment, and retaliation.
Ideally, we paradoxically motivate people to motivate themselves;
we ignite their internal system, so that they perform well for the
sake of the job itself and their own satisfaction. Then, the
supervisor is not the personal dispenser of pleasure or pain;
instead, he or she is a facilitator to an environment in which
people want to do well.
- We can develop patience. Sometimes lack of motivation occurs
because this is not the time for any particular action. During
this phase of the cycle, we can rest so that we will be ready for
action when motivation does arise.
- We can explore Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This model helps
to explain why different people are motivated by different goals.
In the hierarchy, we are driven to fulfill a "lower" need before a
"higher" need seems important. (When that lower need is satisfied,
it no longer drives us.) In other words, a hungry person isn't
motivated by self-fulfillment; he or she wants a sandwich, and
will work for it -- but a well-fed person is not motivated by that
sandwich. According to Maslow, as we satisfy each need, we move to
the next one, in this order:
- Physiological needs. These needs include hunger, thirst,
health, housing, etc.
- Safety needs. These needs include physical security (e.g.,
a home which is secure from prowlers), a stable environment,
law and order, and freedom from fear and violence.
- Love and belonging. These needs include friendship,
affection, acceptance, social connections, etc.
- Self-esteem. These needs include self-respect, achievement,
- Self-actualization. The previous four levels are founded on
a sense of lack. But after satisfying those basics, we start to
become complete, distinct individuals who are inspired to
pursue the expression of our full potential, our