Recently, I gave a presentation on NLP and Motivation, so I’d like to share one of the processes I designed and included there.

Now, motivation is not a new concept in the field of personal development, nor in NLP. In fact, one of the ‘metaprograms’ we present in our NLP Practitioner trainings is ‘motivation direction’ - are we more motivated by things we move towards (e.g. rewards) or those we move away from (e.g. consequences)?

While you may be motivated more strongly by one or the other, we are in some measure, motivated by both forces. We move away from what we don’t want and towards what we do want - if everything is connected up and balanced correctly.

If we only move away from what we don’t want - it’s possible to end up anywhere else. If we only move towards what we want, there’s the possibility that we might flit from one attractive proposition to the next with little measure of consequences.

So both forces work together in what NLPers call a ‘propulsion system’. We move towards good feelings and away from bad ones at the same time.

The problem is that it doesn’t always work as a sustained motivation. So I considered it further and it occurred to me to ask - which good feelings specifically? And which bad feelings?

Usually, a generic ‘positive’ feeling and a generic ‘negative’ feeling are described and if those aren’t enough, the solution given is to increase the intensity of the feelings.

That fix can work for a little while, then it tends to run out of steam. However, we all have ways of motivating ourselves already. Otherwise we’d never even get out of bed in the morning.

So, which specific states motivate you?

What do you move towards and what do you move away from?

It’s important that you know what states already work for you. Then we can put them together and feed in all of the things we want to accomplish.

Let me give you an example. I tend to move away from boredom and a state of curiosity moves me forward. Your motivators will likely be different from mine and you’ll need to work them out for the next part of the process.

The next step is to ask - what do those two states have in common? What connects them together?

It’s good to do this because now is the time to start thinking of all of these elements as a complete system. What is that system about?

In the example I gave, boredom and curiosity are connected by learning for me. So my personal propulsion system in that context is a machine designed for learning. What is the propelling force that connects your motivating elements and moves you forward? It could be exploration, experimentation, adventure, passion or any one of a great variety of things.

Here’s how to put that machine together:

1. Determine your specific Towards and Away-From states within a certain context.
2. Ask yourself – what do those two states have in common? In your perception, what concept unites them?
3. Close your eyes and get a sense of the Towards state. This could be a picture, feeling, sound or just an idea. Position it in front of you.
4. Get a sense of the Away-From state. This can be a picture, feeling, sound or just an idea. Position it behind you.
5. Become aware of how those two states are connected and get a sense of the forward movement that comes with the connection.
6. Feed in some images, sounds, words or feelings related to something you would like to be more motivated about. Notice how the system moves them forward.

Now you can feed anything you want to into your personalised propulsion system as content.

Or put your propelling force onto your timeline. I personally find it easier to put ‘learning’ into the areas where I need motivation rather than building the propulsion system fresh each time.

And if you work with propulsion systems this way, they stay in balance. There’s no need for readjustment or cranking up states. It works because it’s been tailor made with your inner world in mind.

Now all you have to do is to decide what you want, check your outcome and feed it into the machine. Your Personal Propulsion System will focus you and supply momentum. Full steam ahead!

Author's Bio: 

Philip Callaghan is an NLP Trainer and Coach who has been working full time with private clients for several years. He is a Licensed Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and a member of the International Association of Coaches.

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