Men are driven by two principal impulses, either by love or by fear. – Niccolò Machiavelli
What does that mean?
While this quote has been reduced to a gross oversimplification, for the sake of giving advice to a leader, the generalization still holds some truth. Love and fear are the two things that most motivate a population towards their ruler.
While the ruler has to deal with people in large numbers, for the sake of determining policy and other decisions of state, the rest of us can take a more refined approach to the ‘impulses’ or motivations of others. For the sake of this post, we will examine this from a number of levels.
We can take the quote as it stands, and presume you are the leader of at least a small group of people, whether it’s a family, or even just planning an outing for a bunch of friends. We can also take the quote and apply it to a single other person, and we can also consider how others might apply it to you.
Why is motivation important?
Why do people do the things they do? Often it’s because of their motivations, or as the quote says, their impulses. If you know what motivates someone, you have a pretty good idea what they will do in any given situation. However, people, as individuals, are far more complex, and driven by many different motivations, including those of which you may not be aware.
However, if you’re planning a day-trip for a bunch of friends, you probably already know the types of activities they love, and which ones they fear. If most of your friends were afraid of heights, you probably wouldn’t schedule a sky-dive, right? Unless you got their buy-in before hand and were doing it to help them break through their fear.
Where can I apply this in my life?
As was mentioned in the paragraph above, you might be working on a trip for a group of friends. Perhaps you’re working with a youth group of some kind, and are planning a trip or activity for them. It might even be a family outing that you are planning (sometimes we let the kids do some of the planning, it can get very interesting when done that way).
Perhaps you’re in charge of an afternoon ‘team building’ exercise for some of the people at work. That could be fun, or a disaster, depending on how much you know about your coworkers. It might also depend on how many loved the activity or feared it, as well as how many people loved the group (and the leaders, yourself included) or feared them.
Even something on a smaller scale, if you know the person well enough, you can help to drive them to the action you want, if you know what they love and what they fear, and can provide one, the other, or both. However, if that’s how you are working your love life, you might want to reconsider your motivations.
The last way I would like you to consider this quote is how it might be used by someone else, with you being the other person. What do you love? What do you fear? This question will get different answers (at least it did for me) when asked about different people in positions of power.
Consider the difference in your answer if the ‘Prince’ was your boss at work, a close friend, the local police, or your government. Each has different tools at their disposal, and different levels of ethics and arenas of operation. Grab some paper and take a moment to write down a few of the people who play the role of ‘Prince’ (or ‘Princess’) in your life.
For each, write down the things they could do to motivate you, both out of love (strong attraction, longing, respect, etc) and out of fear (of punishment, of actions, of penalties, or anything else they could do to you). How does your list look? Was my prediction of differences in the lists correct for you?
Now take a look at your list of the things you fear in each situation and see if any of these items are illogical, paranoid, or outdated. Do you fear that a lover might do something a prior lover did, even though this person is nothing like the other? Might you want to spend some time thinking about this issue, and perhaps change your attitude a little?
Now take a look at your list of the things you love in each situation and see if any of these items are irrational, antiquated, or no longer applicable. Have you outgrown your love of a certain color? Are you still attracted to the same things as you did when you were half your present age? Or do you need to adjust your motivations to match your present reality?
I hope that gave you a few things to think about, I know it did for me. Examination of your motivations, the things you love or fear, will help you understand yourself a little better. It might also help you understand some of your reactions and how they might be based on past (and no longer relevant) experiences.
From: Twitter, @dreamhampton
confirmed at : http://www.spiritquotes.com/quotes/machiavelli-quotes-machiavelli-sayings.htm # 5 on the list
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