Welcome to Influence, Psychology and Persuasion

This is session number 016 of Influence Psychology and Persuasion. This show investigates how humans are motivated. Are you playing to your own strengths and do you understand what drives you the most? Are you motivated by success?

Studies and human nature dictate that we are far more likely to make a decision if that decision eliminates either FEAR or LOSS.

Daniel Kahneman an Israeli-American Psychologist study loss aversion in depth. Typically, as with most interesting studies, the outcome is irrational. These are the quirks that you need to know and use to your advantage. One study shows people are more motivated to prevent a $5 loss than they were to gain $5.

More Examples

Your boss asks you to work another 2 hours on Wednesday evening. If you do this you will earn another £20! Feel motivated to do this?

Most of us would base this on whether we needed that additional £20, but how about your boss saying if you don’t work on Wednesday evening you’d lose £20 per week from your salary? Think about that for a moment?

Changing banks and utility suppliers is a very common one. Comparison sites show you what you can save if you shift, but add that up to what we may lose as a result of changing. What are the Risks associated with changing, what’s the hassle that you will have to go through? Car insurers don’t tend to have this issue as this is more accepted as a simple process.

1-2-1 therapy, business coaching and performance coaches all talk in terms of the big goal and what you want to achieve. Creating the compelling outcome and that will give you drive for the journey. However, history and psychology tell us a much different story.

The truth is, we are far more motivated to take initial action to get away from fear, pain, and anxiety than we are for achieving a goal or getting a reward.

Take a look at this from Usain Bolt ”

“To understand what drives Usain Bolt, you have to understand the nature of the man, who speaks time and time again about a race from another time. One with no real significance, that took place decades ago on a country slope which doubled as a playing field. This race would thread the very fibre of the man and the athlete who is so widely celebrated today.

It was 1995, and the eight-year-old got his first taste of defeat. It was bitter and hard to digest. For that youngster, it fuelled a burning desire to win – to always win. It channelled a combustive competitive edge that would lift him to heights once barely even imaginable.

If you talk to him often enough, you’ll realise too that he’s still a little pissed about that loss, as he is about all of the few he has suffered as a professional.” (Source

Even though he is running to win, what drives him is overcoming that loss. There are a number of Usain Bolt quotes where he has lost and since has tried to never let that happen.

Loss causes us pain, achievement just gives us something extra.

Look at this from an evolutionary angle. We fight for survival and we drop our guard when all is OK.

If you create, fabricate, or even imagine a pain you need to avoid you’ll be more motivated to achieve.

But always keep a goal in mind. The goal and blue sky thinking can give you a place to aim for, avoiding a pain will give you the energy and passion to get you there regardless of the route taken.

During my time as a full-time business coach, I saw this pattern so many times. In businesses start-ups. The owners would usually have big dreams and ambitions, and in most cases, no salary in the early days. Fast forward only a few months and their pockets were being lined and they had created a fast and stable income.

Multiply that time again and because fear had been removed, their business didn’t grow.

Can anyone be motivated for success?

Yes, of course. Having big goals and desires can drive a person. So still create your goals and desires, but perhaps find your why. Usain Bolt was driven to succeed for years to be the fastest man on earth because of a loss at age 8.