Our Two Primary Motivators Are Not Equal

Psychologists assert that all human motivation can be divided into two categories: gain and pain. Anytime we actually do something, we do it because we want to avoid pain or achieve gain.

I recently attended a presentation hosted by Steve McClatchy, leadership coach and author of The New York Times bestseller Decide. According to McClatchy, “­Actions driven by gain produce far more significant positive results in your life and your business than tasks that you do to prevent pain.”1

“Prevent pain” activities are the have-to-dos — paying bills, taking out the trash, responding to a negative email from a client, etc. If we don’t do them, there will be negative consequences.

Gain activities don’t have to be done, but if they are, they can improve our overall health, wealth and happiness. If we don’t focus on gain activities, such as building strong relationships with family and clients or investing time in things we truly care about, we may never achieve our life goals.

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