Humans have many driving forces, both internal and external. We can use them positively or negatively, but the negatives could drag us down. This can determine many things about the path our lives will take, and how well or poorly we end up.
Below are some powerful driving forces that impact our daily lives.
1. Major forces can relate to physical and emotional comfort.
We are initially driven by forces of needs beginning in infancy. Even before we have developed any communication tools, we need to get our needs satisfied.
Infants cry whenever they are uncomfortable, cold, wet, hungry, dirty, sick, in pain, or frightened. They will cry out for help, without knowing any human language. Grown humans are driven by internal forces to respond to the cries of these tiny beings, and take care of their needs.
2. Fear of being shunned
Humans are very social animals, so as we grow, one of our driving forces relates to the fear of being shunned, or cast out, of social situations.
We model our behavior after those in our home and small community so that we are accepted, and share in the food, housing, and other benefits offered by the grownups.
3. Fears are very strong forces
The fear of heights can prevent us from taking a great job that happens to be in the upper floors of a building. Fear of success can also cause us to lose out on many great opportunities.
Some people choose their colleges so that they are within some arbitrary distance from home, so that they can get back to family within a certain number of hours, meanwhile missing out on a better choice of college.
Fears of punishment, whether prison or peer pressure, or loss of respect are very strong forces. We continue to behave as expected, even as we have already begun to learn more about ourselves and the opinions of others we meet in our larger community. Some people either don’t have fear of punishment, or they believe they won’t be caught, so they are not driven by a fear of punishment.
4. The drive for independence becomes stronger as we mature.
We no longer have the drive of complete dependence on other beings to satisfy our needs. We want to be more independent. That drive, of course, leads us to the desires to drive a car, get our first job, and travel further from home than we were permitted to when we were younger.
5. The segment of society into which we are born
The segment of society into which we are born, and the strength of the family of origin will determine a lot about which driving forces will most strongly impact us as we mature and make more of our own decisions.
Even as we exercise out independence, we may remember being taught that every action is an important indicator of our character, so we will consider our decisions carefully.
For some people, they may not have as strong a conviction of concern for what we were taught in early childhood, so we won’t think as carefully about our decisions, and how they may affect our lives moving forward.
For some people, money will only drive them as it is needed for the most basic of needs: food, housing, clothing, and basic transportation.
For others, money will drive them to want the most exotic food, largest housing, expensive clothing, and the most luxurious of transportation.
7. Fame is a strong driver for some people, but can be absolutely undesirable to others.
Some people are driven by the desire for fame to the point that they miss out on keeping the close family ties that once were so important to them. They don’t realize that they may have chosen to give up these family relationships with no guarantee of achieving the fame that they so desired.
8. Need of companionship and love
For the majority of people, the need of companionship and love are much more universal than money and fame, due to the basic human need for socialization.
9. Driving forces lead us to both make and also avoid major life decisions.
If we avoid too many decisions out of fear of the outcome, that same fear will become strong enough to make us freeze as we fear both loss and missing out.
We may fear choosing between accepting a promotion in our current company or choosing to accept a job in another industry. By passing the deadline on acceptance, we lose out on both positions.
10. For some people, the craving for success, money and fame is stronger than the need of love and family, which causes a lot of harm to their family.
Others want love so badly that they have no ambition.
11. Desire for fitness and health
Another driving force that varies by individual choice is the desire for fitness and health.
Some people value these very highly. They devote a lot of time to learning the proper ways to take care of themselves to the best of their ability. Both feeling well and looking good are extremely important to them.
They eat well, exercise, get proper sleep, and see their doctors on a regular basis. Other people want to be healthy, but are less concerned with workout, and don’t listen to the advice of their medical practitioner. They are not driven as strongly by this concern.
12. Ambition is another important driving force.
It brings us through our school career, our skills development, and eventually, our choices of how well we will run our life.
If our rewards for acting on ambition have been mostly positive, we will continue to be ambitious throughout our life.
If it has been negative, some people lose this good force, and become discouraged who will no longer do much to improve their lot in life.
13. Sometimes people are driven by forces that even they cannot immediately explain to anyone.
They just know that their life has not worked out and they need a big change. This can be tough on themselves and on their family and friends. They may leave their successful career for a new lifestyle that will not sustain them financially.
We sometimes refer to this as the midlife crisis. This is not something that happens to everyone. People will either by supportive of the person in crisis, or not. It can end up in a positive way, or very negatively.
14. Some people work hard all day so that they can have entertainment when the work is done.
Other people don’t want the promise of entertainment; they want their work to be entertaining. It doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t work; but this focus may direct them to a different type of industry. They may end up working in an industry, such as music, that affords the entertainment that other people are looking for.
We cannot operate on only one driving force at a time. We need to have a balance so that even as we strive for large goals, we remember to continue with the small, but also necessary goals.
We cannot allow our ambition to focus only on the goal of climbing Mount Everest, and ignore the need for food, oxygen, and safe decisions regarding our equipment and the weather. It is important to realize that no matter what is driving you, and no matter how you are making your decisions, you have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror.
Some of your decisions will impact others that you love, and you have to be able to live with the consequences of all of your decisions, both good and bad.