Moving Towards Or Away

When making decisions or setting goals there are two primary motivators: moving towards something or moving/staying away from something.  This can also be called pain vs. pleasure. For instance, are you looking for a new job because you think it is a great next step in your career, or do you hate your current one?  Are your financial goals about living a financially free lifestyle or staying out of debt?  Did you set up you team’s reward system to give rewards to the highest performing people, or fire the lowest performing people?   Are you praising your kids when they do something right, or just punishing them when they do something wrong?

An important thing to realize when setting goals or making decisions is that the difference between making them towards or away based will have a significant impact on how you, or the people you set them up for, go about processing the decision or meeting / not meeting the goal.

In the long run, focusing on towards or ‘pleasure’ based outcomes is significantly more impactful and leads to more positive results.  Unfortunately, human psychology teaches us that our first human tendency is to work harder to avoid pain or stay away from something hurtful.  People will also work harder to keep what they have when it’s at risk vs. go get something better.  Also, when people focus too much on moving away from something, the further they get away from it the more often they go back to the old ‘thing’ so they can get the reward of moving away from it again.

Becoming mindful of which approach you’re taking is the first major step in ensuring that your taking a towards or positive based outcomes approach.  After that it’s important to make sure that you ensure your goals or decision making processes are written in, focus and set up in that direction.

So what are you running towards?

Matt Kane

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