Recognize motivation in life, develop potential, develop strengths


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Text comes from: Wer bin ich und was will ich wirklich?: Mit dem Reiss-Profile die 16 Lebensmotive erkennen und nutzen (2009) by Professor Steven Reiss, published by Münchener Verlagsgruppe (MVG), Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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Everyone follows certain life motives and values ​​that guide him. And everyone should know which ones they are.

Recognize motivation in life, develop potential, develop strengths

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Steven Reiss is Professor in Psychology and Psychiatry from Ohio State University and Director of the Nisonger Center for Mental Retardation.

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This is how we gain knowledge about ourselves

While most people are not used to thinking about human behavior from the perspective of life motives, knowing our 16 life motivations can help them understand who they are and why they do what they do. These life motives offer you a new way to analyze your own behavior. Knowing your motives in life can help you find out how your behavior and goals in life are related to your motives in life. Because your life motives indicate the path of psychological development you must take to become the person you want to be, they can help you think about what you need to find value-based happiness.

The 16 life motives are also an effective tool to analyze the behavior of the people around you. If we want to know how others will behave, we should find out what they want and assume that they will try to meet their needs and motives. Needs may not tell us everything we want to know about ourselves or about others, but what they tell us is extremely important in understanding behavior and happiness.

The 16 life motives at a glance

And these are the 16 life motifs - the order in which they are presented here does not mean anything:

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  1. Power - the need to influence others.
  2. Independence - the need for personal responsibility
  3. Curiosity - the need for knowledge.
  4. Recognition - the need for inclusion.
  5. Order - the need for organization.
  6. Saving - the need to collect things.
  7. Honor - the need to be loyal to one's parents and inheritance.
  8. Idealism - the need for social justice.
  9. Relationship - the need for company.
  10. Family - the need to raise one's children.
  11. Status - the need for social recognition.
  12. Revenge / competition - the need to settle accounts with someone or compare yourself to someone.
  13. Sensuality - the need for sex and beauty.
  14. Food - the need for food intake.
  15. Physical activity - the need for muscle activity.
  16. Inner calm - the need for emotional serenity.

The origin of the motives for life

Let's look at where the 16 life motives come from and how they are influenced by experience and culture. William James and William McDougall argued that our motives for life are genetically predetermined.1,2 This means that we are not consciously choosing what to expect from life; rather, our deepest desires and needs arise automatically, and as soon as we have fulfilled them, new, different needs arise automatically, which we then want to fulfill again.

According to William McDougall, “Every human being is made to seek, desire, and achieve certain goals peculiar to his species, the fulfillment of those goals satisfying and satisfying the urges or desires that drive us. These goals ... are not only shared by all humans, but also ... by their close relatives among animals. These are goals such as food, protection from danger, the company of other people, intimacy with the opposite sex, triumph over our opponents and Guide the group."

Animals also have motives for life

Each of the 16 motives for life that we found seem to meet McDougall's criterion of belonging to the entirety of the human species. For example, almost everyone strives for success (as an indicator of the need for power), self-determination (as an indicator of the need for independence), knowledge (as an indicator of curiosity), and so on. There are minor exceptions to the universal nature of these goals, but we have found that almost everyone has these needs; Exceptions are rare. The 16 motives for life are not only common to all humans, but also to our closest relatives among animals.

The expression of nine of the life motives in animals is obvious - for example, the fact that animals explore their surroundings shows that they have a certain curiosity. Foraging animals are motivated by the need for foraging; Animals maintain social contacts (as an indicator of the need for relationships), they raise their offspring (as an indicator of the need for family), they defend themselves (as an indicator of the need for revenge / competition), they copulate (as an indicator of the Need for sensuality), they show fear (as an indicator of the need for inner calm), they eat and move physically. How the other seven motives for life relate to animal behavior is less obvious, but there are also observations that clearly indicate a connection. For example, the common animal practice of licking their fur falls under the need for order.

Every person is different

The young birds' need for attention in the nest may be the source of the instinctive human need for social status. The fact that all (or almost all) of the 16 motives for life can also be observed in animals gives credibility to the thesis that this list is important. When Susan and I conducted the surveys that we used to develop this list of life motives, we did not ask respondents to tell us what values ​​they shared with animals. We didn't ask any questions about animals at all. Still, the needs that emerged from our surveys and research are the same as those seen in animals.

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Indeed, one could argue that these motives are important to survival in the wild and are therefore of evolutionary importance. Although almost everyone has the following 16 life motives, they are differently pronounced in each person. Those differences spiegeln partly reflected the genetic diversity among humans. For example, some people have the innate potential to develop very strong aggression (as an indicator of the need for revenge), whereas others are born with a less pronounced aggression potential. Some people are born with a potential for a strong curiosity or thirst for knowledge, while others naturally have only a low potential for curiosity.


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