YOU ARE YOUR OWN FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: Movement, Motivation and Mindset for Active Seniors

Energy Bite 177 – A More Effective Motivator

Last week I wrote about intrinsic motivation.  This week I’m taking it a little bit deeper.

One of the biggest fears we have as we start go grow chronologically older is a loss of independence. Some see it as the specter of having our driver’s license taken away in a few years. Others see it simply as the fear of having to rely on others to do things for us. I’ll come back to this in a moment.

When I have written in the past about Health, Fitness, Personal Energy and Motivation, it has been from an “if you do, if you don’t” perspective. I’ve said that, “If you don’t move your body the way nature intended, you will start to deteriorate. If you do move your body, you will be rewarded with good health and vitality.”

But as I pointed out in last week’s weeks article, only one out of seven people actually take action to improve themselves, even after their doctor has told them they will die if they don’t take action.

Thus, it appears that the old “carrot and stick” or “if, then” motivation model doesn’t work to get people to take responsibility for their Health, Fitness and Personal Energy.

Since that may not be the best way to motivate people to action, what then will work?

In their book, Bold, authors Steven Kotler and Peter Diamandis  suggest that when the rewards are internal, emotional satisfactions, they are called “intrinsic rewards” and are the drivers of the intrinsic motivation I wrote about last week. They quote author and business thinker, Daniel Pink from his book Drive, as saying;

“If, then” rewards are mostly invalid. But the third drive is most important: “. . . our deep seated desire to direct our own lives, to extend and expand our abilities, and to fill our life with purpose.”   In simple terms, these drives are:

“Autonomy – desire to steer our own ship

Mastery – desire to steer it well

Purpose – the need for the journey to mean something.

            — Bold, p. 79

These intrinsic drives are the very motivators that activate us the most.

That paints a different picture of the subject of motivation and reinforces what I suggested last week, that there is an intrinsic drive within some of us that inspires us to take action to do certain things.

Since, as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, losing independence is one of the main fears of seniors, and since the desire for Autonomy is a major motivator, then perhaps that is the direction we should be focusing on to inspire us to move our bodies, eat right and do those things we know we should be doing to keep us healthy, fit and filled with a profound zest for life. More on that another day.

I would be interested in your comments on this. If you would care to comment, send them to and write “motivation” in the subject line. I’ll read them all.

And thank you for reading.

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