The key to happiness is both accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative

Today I am sharing some thoughts on what tends to motivate us as people.

According to Heidi Grant Halvorson the author of: Succeed – How We Can Reach our Goals, “human beings and mammals more generally, appear to be born with innate desire to satisfy to essential needs for nurturance and security. Put a little more simply, we want to be loved and kept safe. We pursue promotion goals – seeking achievements and accomplishments – in order to get love. ‘If I can become the person I ideally want to be, then other people will admire me for it, and I will be filled with love and a sense of belonging’. Similarly, we pursue prevention goals – fulfilling responsibilities and avoiding mistakes – in order to stay safe.  ‘If I can be the person I should be, then no one will get angry with me or disappointed with me.’  If I don’t make mistakes, I can keep out of trouble and have a life filled with peace and security.

As the old song goes, the key to happiness is both “accentuate the positive” and “eliminate the negative”. That’s promotion and prevention in a nutshell.  When you’re in promotion mode, you’re trying to fill your life with positives like love, admiration, rewards, and other pleasures. When you’re in prevention mode, you’re trying to keep your life free of negatives like danger, guilt, punishment, and other pains.  But because we want both love and safety, to maximize our positives and minimize our negatives, we all pursue both kinds of goals throughout our lives.”




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