Entrepreneurial Psychology – The Motivational Theory Of Drive Reduction

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In my last article, I covered the motivational theory of instinct. Today, I’ll be touching on yet another motivational theory to add to our arsenal and help us all stay motivated longer. I ask that you don’t let the title or some of the words in this article intimidate you, I wrote this for all skill levels to follow easily. Whether you are a veteran speaker of motivation or just starting out, this can benefit you.

The Motivational Theory Of Drive Reduction

In this theory, Clark Hull (1943, 1952) theorized that internal biology naturally motivates us in different ways. (I talked about a different biological motivation earlier regarding instinct.)

What makes the theory of drive reduction different biologically is that it focuses more on emotions.

Examples of emotionally driven motivation: Anticipation, Hunger, Fear, etc..

These emotions can trigger tension or arousal that our subconscious tries to reduce so that we can regain calmness and comfort in life again.

For more perspective, let us take a look at “Hunger” and how one is motivated naturally by it. I’ve experienced hunger myself back in the day and feel my own experience with it can help translate the theory of drive reduction in an easier to follow format than someone trying to explain it that has never experienced genuine hunger.

It starts out fine for the first few days, with just some tummy grumbles. By day 5 your tummy is not only grumbling, you are now feeling weaker and tire faster. During this phase, you are not quite desperate yet, but you are considering things you’ve never done before in your life. Such as, but not limited to holding a sign for change at stoplights, putting on a costume and standing on the corner for a small retail shop, just to get enough money for a few bites to eat.

By day 7, if you haven’t got a job jet because you’re dirty and smell bad, haven’t made any money for food in other ways, and nobody is available to help you, there’s an explosion that happens in your brain that snaps you back into reality long enough to realize where you are in life.

The war on the streets passes through the night and most only hear a small fraction on the news the next day about what happened while you were sleeping. I won’t get into all that right now though. Maybe in another article.

So, here you are on day 7 and headed towards day 8, slowly and miserably. Now you’re getting desperate, wandering around more populated areas and asking for food instead of money. Crying sometimes as people walk past you for hours, sometimes days.

Finally, someone tosses some quarters into your can and your spirit changes.

Now you have hope! Yet another motivational trigger. In short, your hunger motivated you to beg for food as you found yourself in a challenging situation you have never experienced before. Just when you were starting to give up, (Cha-ching) a few quarters just changed your perspective on life, fast.

You thank the kind soul that donated to your personal cause and start reaching out to people more instead of just sitting there looking defeated. You develop and inner motivational drive of adrenaline that gets you animated.

By now, you’ve learned that creative attention makes it easier for people to look at you, instead of turning away and trying to ignore you even existed, sitting there in your dirty clothes.

More change and paper bills hit your collection can, your feeling higher than a kite in a park during the summer right now.

Eventually the night comes and you muster up the last of your energy to make it to the store before they close and buy nonperishable food as a supply and treat yourself to a perishable to celebrate a job well done in surviving another day on the streets.

As the days go by, you get better and better at pan-handling. Eventually, saving enough to rent a weekly motel room and get clean clothes so you can put in applications and go to job interviews.

From there, sky’s are the limits for you.

You can read more about the job I got to keep me off the streets here: Winn Dee Bar And Lounge.

In Conclusion

As you can see with my own journey involving the motivational theory of drive reduction, hunger was the base motivating factor that pushed me to succeed, make money, feed myself, and get off the streets.

Sadly, not everyone bounces back as fast as I did (8 to 12 months). Many people don’t realize how easy it is to harness such emotions and convert them into positive, productive motivation instead of letting them drag you down deeper into the abyss, leading to depression, feeling of defeat, and hopelessness.

Here’s some better news, the natural emotion/feeling of hunger isn’t limited to just food. That’s right! You can be hungry for other things in life (E.g. attention, success, money, love, security, stability, etc.). That means that you can tap into the same “Hunger” emotion to produce the same motivational effects in other aspects of your life and business.

As an entrepreneur, motivation is a key factor to your success and a necessary element in avoiding failure.

Now roll up your sleeves and dig into the theory of drive reduction by tapping into your inner hunger for the things you desire in life the most. Set those goals and go after them like you were starving!

Happy business building everyone!


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Eric Lyon

Entrepreneur, Freelancer, Domain Investor/Developer, Brand Designer, Brand Manager, Founder of Scorpion Agency™, Founder of OfficeDrift™, And A Father. Since 1996, Eric has managed companies with 240+ employees, online communities with over 1 million members, attended numerous industry related events/conventions and has personally worked with start-ups, personalities, small mom and pop businesses, corporations, freelancers, news outlets, and a variety of domain investors one-on-one from all over the world. That equates to a lot of years behind the scenes with his fingers firmly on the pulse of multiple industries. LinkedIn: Profile/Resume - FaceBook: Profile/Social

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