People are all motivated towards pleasure or away from pain, some people gain more motivation from the idea of gaining pleasure and others from avoiding pain. Which kind of person are you? If, like most people, you struggle to motivate yourself sometimes you may benefit from working out what your greatest motivating factors are. Once you know whether you are motivated toward pleasure or away from the pain you can find ways of motivating yourself and achieving your goals. Understanding your own psychology will help you improve your life in countless ways.
Hierarchy of Needs
In 1943 Abraham Maslow developed his theory about the hierarchy of needs, Maslow said that the hierarchy is made up of 5 levels. The first needs are physiological, they are the things a person needs in order to survive; food, water, shelter, etc. Once a person has secured the first needs they move up the list to the second need which is safety; the need to maintain their physiological needs, in the modern world this would include their money. Once a person has secured what they need they begin to feel the desire for love and the need to feel a belonging. Fourth on the list of needs is esteem, a person needs to feel confident and respected by others. Finally, once a person has achieved all of the above they begin to seek self-actualization and enlightenment.
Wherever you are, whether you are a to or away from a person you can benefit from learning about time preference and by practicing delayed gratification. Someone with a high time preference may always find themselves at the lower end of the hierarchy of needs, they may borrow money and generate large debts for themselves. A person with a low time preference will most likely be more financially stable, with more motivation, they will save to buy what they desire, they won’t run up credit card debts or take out payday loans.
It’s not just with money that you can see a benefit from practicing delayed gratification, your relationships may well improve too and bank balance may well benefit if you make the right choice of life partner. Someone with a high time preference may well be promiscuous, the may jump from one unfulfilling relationship to the next, contracting sexual diseases or they suffer several extremely painful and costly divorces.
Developing a Low Time Preference
Someone with a high time preference will be living very much for the moment, they will be spending money, running up debts, eating junk food, sleeping around, never truly satisfied with what they have. To develop a low time preference you need to be happy with yourself and what you have, you need to be living in the now and not for the moment. You can quiet your mind and desires by practicing meditation.
How to Meditate
Meditation is something that people with a high time preference will probably laugh at, it will probably drive such a person mad at first, it involves sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing. To meditate just site crossed legged or on a chair in a quiet and darkened room, keep your back straight, rest your hands in your lap and breath into your stomach, as you breath out count to five. If a thought comes into your head mentally label it as thinking and start your next breath. Meditate for a couple of minutes to start and then increase your sitting time gradually.