Ask someone why he went to work for his present company or why he bought his current car or house. Some people are motivated primarily by necessity, rather than by what they want. They do something because they must. They’re not pulled to take action by what is possible. They’re not looking for infinite varieties of experience. They go through life taking what comes and what is available. When they need a new job or a new house or a new car, or even a new spouse, they go out and accept what is available.
are motivated to look for possibilities. They’re motivated less by what
they have to do than by what they want to do. They seek options,
experiences, choices, and paths. The person who is motivated by
necessity is interested in what’s known and what’s secure. The person
who is motivated by possibility is equally interested in what’s not
known. He wants to know what can evolve, what opportunities might
If you were an employer, which kind of person would you
most want to hire? Some people would probably answer, “The person who is
motivated by possibility.” After all, having a rich sense of potential
makes for a richer life. Instinctively, most of us (even a lot of people
who are motivated by necessity) would advocate the virtues of remaining
open to an infinite variety of new directions.
In reality, it’s
not that cut-and-dried. There are jobs that require attention to detail,
steadfastness, and consistency. Let’s say you’re a quality-control
inspector at an auto plant. A sense of possibility is nice. However,
what you might need most is a sense of necessity. You need to know
exactly what’s needed, and you have to verify that it’s being done.
Someone motivated by possibility would probably be bored stiff in a job
like that, while someone motivated by necessity would feel perfectly
attuned to it.
People who are motivated by necessity have other
virtues as well. Some jobs place a particular virtue on permanence. When
you fill them, you want someone who’ll last for a long time. A person
motivated by possibilities is always looking for new options, new
enterprises, and new challenges. If he finds another job that seems to
offer more potential, there’s a good chance he’ll leave. Not so the
somewhat plodding soul who is motivated by necessity. He takes a job
when he needs one. He sticks with it because working is a necessity of
There are many jobs that cry out for a dreamy-eyed,
swashbuckling, risk-taking believer in possibility. If your company were
diversifying into a whole new field, you’d want to hire someone who’ll
be attuned to all of the possibilities. And there are other jobs that
place a premt by what he needs. It’s equally
important to know what your own personal metaprograms are so that if
you’re looking for a job, you can select one that will best support your
needs.ium on solidity, consistency, and longevity. For those jobs
you need someone who is motivated mos
The same principle works in motivating your children.
Let’s say you’re trying to stress the virtues of education and going to a
good college. If your child is motivated by necessity, you have to show
her why she needs a good education. You can tell her about all the jobs
that absolutely require a degree. You can explain why you need a
foundation in math to be a good engineer or in language skills to be a
If your kid is motivated by possibility, you would
take a different approach. She’s bored by what she has to do, so you’d
stress the infinite possibilities open to those with a good education.
Show her how learning itself is the greatest avenue for possibility.
Fill her brain with images of new avenues to be explored, new dimensions
to be opened, new things to be discovered. With each child the result
will be the same, although the way you lead her there is very different.