The core of change comes from the acknowledgement and understanding of decision-thinking is self-motivated. Even the decisions we are not consciously making, on some level are created as short-cuts to purposed solutions. Anyone who had gotten in their car and discovered that they drove home instead of where you had originally intended to go can see an example of this. All actions are motivated even when we are not mindfully aware of the motivation.

Motivations are conditional. The choices we may make in one environment may not be the same choices we make in another. So in addition to understanding why we make the choices in actions and emotions for ourselves, we must also recognize the context of who “we” are within any given environment. Where we may be competently in charge at work, we may be afraid and timid at home. It is one more way in which we can see that the definition of “I”  or “self” is conditional.

Our motivations are normally broken down into its place on a spectrum of “thriving or striving.” When we are in a thriving mode, our decisions are within healthy stress levels, there are decisions made competently and without anxiety, relationships are open with trust. In contrast, when we are not thriving, our decisions processes are fear-based for survival, and our lives seem distressed and unmanageable.

What happens in a “thrive or strive” model is an awareness of where we are in our lives. People who are thriving very rarely notice the normal daily stresses and operate with a sense of confidence and place. However, when we are in the strive mode, our stresses are strained. Dangers, real or imagined, effect our decisions that are focused on the tasks of survival. In strive modes, we activate the hormones associated with short and long-term stress. Our focus narrows to the immediate tasks at hand and eventually our mental and physical well being is compromised. When our lives work in strive modes long enough, these conditions can start to seem normal and routine. It becomes difficult to see that our hedonic treadmill has established a new “normal” to our lives and redefined what happiness, success, and reality should be. Nevertheless, through a mindful-investigation we can identify which decisions we are making that are fears or confidence based; and work towards new senses of normal that are more thriving than striving; more confident than fearful.

What is important is to see that there is opportunity for change and improvement in our own lives at all times. It just takes the time to look mindfully at the who, what, when, where and why of our motivations.

Peace and Love, Jim

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