We are most motivated when we are seeking to fulfill our needs. Remember Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs? His theory was based on basic human needs falling into one of five categories: physiological, safety and security, social acceptance, self-esteem, and self-actualization. When your physical needs are met you are able to move up the pyramid to pursue your next level of needs, safety and security. At this level it is not just the external safeguards that satisfy this need. Defining and understanding your core values plays an integral role in feeling secure internally. Once we are feeling safe and secure then we go off and seek social acceptance. After you have sufficiently satisfied the earlier needs in Maslow’s pyramid you are able to turn your attention to gaining self-esteem and the esteem of others. One can enhance their self-esteem by realizing accomplishments, assuming responsibility and having a positive attitude. When you have finished satisfying the lower level needs you will be in a position to focus on self-actualization, that is, becoming who you really want to be and living life’s purpose.
By being aware of your strongest needs you are able to establish corresponding goals and rewards to fuel your motivation. As Gandhi once said, “It is not bread that motivates, but lack of it.”