How successful you are at handling stress often comes down to one thing: Knowing what motivates you.
Do you know what motivates you? Most people have never given this question a second thought. But when you know what motivates you, you can thrive in any stressful situation.
Internal vs External Motivation
Autonomy is a key driver of human behavior in traditional American culture. The most successful people are autonomous. As a result, they are able to handle stress successfully.
Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs referred to autonomy as the level of “self-actualization.” My Hierarchy of Social Development refers to this as Level D, Democracy. People operating at Level D take the initiative to do the right thing regardless of social pressures. This is internal motivation.
People who only reach Level C (external motivation) on the Hierarchy of Social Development will never be autonomous. That’s because they rely on external motivational sources, such as seeking the approval of others, the desire to fit in, and the desire to be liked by others.
Autonomous people realize that the inner satisfaction received by Level D (internal motivation) is far more satisfying than any external reward.
Determine What Motivates You
Ask yourself the following questions. “Is my motivation based on pleasing others (Level C)? Or am I taking the initiative to do right regardless of outside pressures (Level D)?” Strive to be autonomous (to be self-motivated) and your stress level will reduce dramatically.
You can find many more stress-reducing tips like this one in my by book Live Without Stress, available in both eBook and paperback formats at WithoutStress.com. Until next time, have a stress-free day!