Kevin Hogan

International Speaker

Latest Articles:  Stopping the Black Swan Can You Become a New Person?

The dream is compelling. It’s exciting but there is a part of you that just doesn’t want to… get out of bed, do the project, write the proposal, or ask for the date that might change your life. Even after you have worked your way through the 12 life patterns and set them all on course, (See Lifestorms), intrinsic motivation can still be a real problem. Procrastination can set in. You may “feel tired” or “feel blue” and not feel like making the call that is necessary. Even though you are just one step away from happiness or “pulling the trigger”, you simply let it go and find yourself back in your zone of comfort.

No matter how much you want the dream, there are times when motivation runs low. Like a battery that needs to be recharged, even the most productive person’s motivation sometimes needs to be rekindled.

Listening to tapes from your motivational speaker can provide the extrinsic motivational drive (motivation that comes from outside yourself) and that is a very good thing. But what happens when the tape breaks or the CD cracks?!

Today we are going to build intrinsic motivation into your mind. You are going to discover for the first time just what it will mean to stick with the status quo and not take those steps forward.

In “Science of Influence” Volume 1: Universal Principles of Influence, I talked about the significance of two powerful drivers of human behavior. The first is the feeling of pleasure in it’s various forms. The second is the feeling of pain in it’s many facets. Of the two, in most areas of life pain is a far greater motivator than that of pleasure. In fact, most people will go much farther to avoid pain than experience pleasure.

The reason is simple. When you made mistakes when you were young you experienced punishment or paid for your mistakes in real time. If you misbehaved you may have gotten spanked or worse. If you rode your bike too fast you may have fallen off and gotten scraped up. If you went too close to the beehive you may have gotten stung. All of these experiences “taught” you a “lesson.” They all brought on pain which turned into fear.

Fear is the most powerful of all emotions human beings experience and it is the one thing that we will do almost anything to avoid.

The bike reader who fell may have experienced enough pain from getting scraped up that it caused a healthy fear of speed. Sometimes thrill seeking behaviors don’t get unwired as quickly due to pain because thrill seeking can trigger pleasure centers in the brain like a high from the most powerful drugs. But it can make the thrill seeker more careful if the pain is great enough.

I’ve worked with many people who were afraid to swim. Swimming is certainly not a thrill seeking behavior. Why were they afraid to swim? They had bad experiences around water as a child. They may have almost drowned or felt they had almost drowned and developed an enormous phobia for water due to the early experiences. The imprinting from these experiences doesn’t go away in an instant. The mind/body has evolved to protect the individual from duplicating behaviors that have been shown to be extremely dangerous. Therefore, the body triggers the “fear response” when it comes into situations that are similar to the one that seemingly threatened the life of the individual. Very effective, very efficient but also very inexact and definitely not a perfect system.

Swimming is essentially 100% safe. As is driving a car, riding an elevator, picking up a garden snake or leaving your home. Yet many millions of people will do anything to avoid these everyday behaviors. Why? The fear of reliving the pain of the past is too great.

If the brain is so powerful that it can wire in fear responses to everyday random behaviors because of one single experience, doesn’t it make sense that the brain can also do something similar on a slightly less intense level to keep us from self sabotaging ourselves? …to keep us from procrastinating? …to keep us from getting too lazy?

It can…and you can!

Even though you can create obsessions and compulsions for those things that will bring you a great deal of pleasure… and even though you can create “phobias” for laziness, procrastination and some kinds of self sabotage they aren’t necessarily great ideas. (Can you imagine getting a huge phobic fear response every time you take a 5 minute break?!)

Fortunately the human body experiences feelings and emotions that are wide and varied and because of this latitude of experience you can literally wire in a feeling of discomfort toward laziness, procrastination and self sabotage using some powerful tools. The same tools used in a slightly different way can help propel you into the future and toward those things that you want and love.

Your brain doesn’t think in terms of words or language. It processes information mostly as images and sounds. Your body…feels. The combination is remarkably helpful when it comes to programming in desired responses to situations and behaviors.

Pretend that you get lazy one afternoon. There are projects (let’s say taxes) you know you should do. You don’t want to, though. They are annoying. Frustrating. Not devastating. They aren’t even due today…so there is no apparent urgency…even though you know you really should be doing them. You would just rather sit and do nothing. You’ve had a hard day and deserve the afternoon off…of course you have been putting the taxes off for almost three months and they are due next week.

You have taught yourself over the past three months that nothing bad happens (except a small twinge of guilt and dread as you look at the pile of papers each day) when you don’t do your taxes, and, you get all the perks of relaxing and taking it easy when you don’t do them.

Now, if this was the only thing in life that you ever put off, you’d probably be fine. But the same thing seems to happen when you see that the lawn needs cutting, the checkbook needs to be balanced, the toilet downstairs needs to be fixed and the car needs an oil change and on and on. All of these twinges of guilt and dread begin to combine and weigh you like an anchor into your recliner, chair or sofa. Now it’s not relaxing…it’s avoiding…it’s overwhelming to think of all things that you have to do and there is just no time to do them. Each day the list gets bigger and the time to do the projects begins to shrink….and the taxes are now due TOMORROW.

Now you feel the feelings of stupidity, anger, resentment, fear of what happens if you can’t get the taxes done on time and all kinds of other negative emotions. You might yell at your spouse or kids or the mailman because of all the work you have to do. If ONLY you would have done all of this stuff when you had the time. Now you are freaking out!

And that is the first part of the story of changing what you link up those positive and negative emotions to in your brain.

Everything would have been fine had you long ago wired positive emotions and feelings toward getting important projects done now and negative emotions to laziness, procrastination, and self sabotage. (Procrastination is a horrific form of self sabotage that is not conquered in the Lifestorms processing but is dealt with in this CD program.)

Where do you begin?

In most cases, you must first begin with a bit bigger picture than just one behavior and replacing it with another. It’s best to do motivational work within the context of your goals. Not necessarily with life goals, but certainly within the context of short term or middle term goals.

The reason that using life goals can be so ineffective is that it is difficult to “convince” the mind that not acting on a project today will seal the fate on any hope for achieving long term success in some area of your life…and indeed…and fortunately that is true. However, on a short or middle term basis, it’s very easy to see how neglecting projects can be damaging to the short term accomplishment of goals that mean a great deal to you.

Motivation however, does begin with knowing what you want and what you don’t want in life, relationships, business and even your hobbies. But the actual techniques to motivate yourself and others is wrapped up in middle and short term goals that the brain can truly and richly experience.

If your goal is to work on a new project everyday for 30 days to finish the project then each day is obviously vital to the project!

What happens when you get the project done? Will you have earned a significant sum of money? Will you have finished painting the house? Will the proposal be accepted for your promotion?

What does this mean to you? Does it make you feel good inside? Satisfied? Proud? What images come to mind? Are their people applauding your work? Does someone tell you how proud they are of you? Do you look up at the house on the day you list your house for sale and see it is perfect? Do you get a nice big paycheck? A letter from the boss?

What would happen if you don’t finish the project? What do you feel inside now that the project is done? Joy? Happy? Content? Accomplished? Excited?

What benefits do you personally derive from having completed this project? What are your rewards?

How good does that make you feel?

Now, that is more than worth having accomplished. You feel so good inside! Not only that, it paid off in other terms as well!

Do you deserve it?

If there is any question as to whether you deserve the results of your work, work that out in your mind now! You do deserve the rewards of your efforts!

BUT, what happens if you procrastinate, delay, become lazy? What happens if you sit back while this important project that obviously has so many exciting benefits and rewards for you does not get completed?

How are you going to feel when it comes time to propose, sell, list, offer, or whatever, and the project isn’t completed? How are you going to feel inside knowing that you got lazy and just let this go. The money isn’t there. The pride isn’t there. What is? Shame? Guilt? Anger? Disappointment? A missed opportunity? Is this really what you want to feel? Of course not! But DO feel these feelings! Feel them as if they were happening to you right now. You blew it. You feel embarrassed! You feel unbelievably foolish for having let something great slip through your fingers. And you had full control. It is indeed your fault and you definitely should feel guilty of blowing it.

Who else is affected by your lack of motivation? Spouse? Kids? Company? Co-workers? How do they suffer because of what you have neglected to do? How do they feel inside? What pain are they experiencing? Worse: What do they think about you? How do they feel about you? When you know you have let down these people or this special person what do you feel?!


Now, you have wired in an enormous amount of painful feelings and emotions for doing that which is a poor behavior and you have linked up lots of good, motivating feelings to the results of having completed each part of the job that you took on. And remember: Ignoring the painful emotions and feelings is a big mistake. On average we are 2.5 times as motivated by painful feelings as we are positive feelings. You really must see and feel ALL the results of failure, laziness, and lack of motivation.

At this point you have literally created intrinsic motivation for yourself and you WILL do what you need to do…but there is more!

“Abundance Happens on Purpose.” Kevin Hogan

Did you know there are 8,000,000 millionaires in the United States?

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Author of The Psychology of Persuasion, Irresistible Attraction, and The Science of Influence, Dr. Kevin Hogan is trusted by organizations, both large and small, to help them help their people reach their personal peak performance and maximize influence in selling and marketing. Kevin is an internationally admired keynote speaker and corporate thought leader. In Coffee with Kevin Hogan, he shares his research, observations, and how you can apply them in your life – both in business and at home.

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