This blog post is the third post in our series on choices and how we make them. If you haven't seen them already, check out the first post on "The Gift of Choice" and the second on "The 3Cs of Choice".
Actions are important because they have real-world consequences, but in seeking to understand our own and other people’s actions, it works better to have an understanding of how an action is motivated by the beliefs and values that underlie it. I believe that people make their decisions in relation to a continuous scale of values that ranges from love to selfishness.
Each of our choices falls somewhere along the motivational scale. On average, most people exhibit roughly equal amounts of love and selfishness, and we identify people whose balance is more loving or more selfish – and make choices about which we want more of in our own lives.
Some choices we make - like which direction to walk along the street or which shopping centre to shop at today – are neutral on this scale, without major impacts for others. Most of our decisions, though, fall somewhere on this continuum. They can be as profound as whether to kill or heal, or as slight as whether to hold a door open for someone or barge through in front of them, but the choices we make are motivated by either loving or selfish values.
The motivation scale is one way of thinking about how we gain what we want and who is affected by our choices. We don’t live in isolation, so what we do affects others -especially our partners, but also other family members, friends and work colleagues.
Taken to an extreme, a selfish person makes choices based on their own pleasure and instant gratification. This may take the form of accumulating of material things at the expense other people, but there are many ways in which selfishness is manifested in people’s lives. Underlying the selfishness may well be insecurity: the greatest fear is loss of control, so they try to control and dominate others by imposing their will. For this kind of person, other people exist only as tools for getting what they want.
Making choices based on love doesn’t actually mean living a life without joy and pleasure, but the material things and relationships we need come to us because we help others and they help us in turn, rather than because we fight and scratch for them. This approach to life is cooperative rather than competitive, and realises that for one to win it’s not necessary for another to lose.
As you live a life motivated by love your capacity to love expands and benefits everyone around you. Wanting the best for people will allow you to live your life free from fear.
As you look for the best in people you allow them to help you grow to reach your full potential. You will increase your self-awareness and confidence, and be more focused and effective. A life motivated by love builds and fosters amazing wonderful relationships full of love, intimacy and connection.
If you feel like you're not living a life of love, and not meeting your full potential, call Sue on 0439 294 532 to talk about how you can start taking action today to live your ideal life.