Understanding your fundamental drives

You have already read about Maslow's view of our basic emotional needs and how these have to be satisfied in a logical hierarchy. If you now move on from this basic view of human nature, there are a number of important ideas that it will help you to grasp.

The first of these continues to explore the idea of basic needs but goes deeper into the recesses of our motivation. It draws on thinking from the science of communications. John Grant is a successful advertiser and one of the co-founders of the award-winning agency St Luke's. He is also one of the inventors of a new kind of marketing that assumes that people are intelligent and learn! In his book, The New Marketing Manifesto: The 12 Rules for Building Successful Brands in the 21st Century, he argues that to understand the motivation to buy, we need to understand 16 fundamental human drives. These are, in alphabetical order:

Avoiding distress Physicality

Citizenship Power

Curiosity Prestige

Family Sex

Honor Social acceptance

Hunger Social contact

Independence Spirituality

Order Vengeance

It is interesting to examine these basic driving instincts from the perspective of what motivates us to learn. If you work down the list of drives, you might conclude that some people avoid learning because of the distress they associate with it. Many will see community learning activities, helping with a local club, or clearing up a park as a chance to become more active citizens. Curiosity, as you have already seen, is a major element of being ready to learn—and so on.

Each person will have a different association and their motivation is likely to be affected accordingly.

k What about you? Look at the chart below. A few of the words describing basic drives have been filled in. Most have been left blank. Which of these drives are important to you in your decisions to learn? Go through the 16 drives and honestly apply them to your own life.


Potentially positive

Potentially neutral

Potentially negative

Avoiding distress









These powerful driving forces affect all of our lives. They help to determine what we buy and how we spend our time. They are particularly interesting when applied to your learning, because learning is so personal.

Choosing to learn is not the same as choosing to buy a new sofa or a different car. It relates much more intimately to the most important "brand" of all, yourself. How you see yourself and how you feel about this is thus of particular importance.

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How To Accomplish More In A Fraction Of The Time

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The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave several of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce and check off items on our to-do list by each day’s end seems to decide the direction and quality of our existence for us.

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