Apr 4, 2006


I have been thinking about lots of stuff of late, being at a fairly chaotic station in life right now. And i've been wondering what motivates people?

Lets look at the ideal state of life (hypothetical - and this is my construction - it could well vary for someone else)

You have a big bungalow with some 5 ACs, a stylish drawing room with a plasma TV and a Bose music system. Several big cars - maybe Corolla for you and a City for the rest of the family (hypothetical, remember!). Domestic help including cooks, a waiter etc.
You get up when you want, read ET and trade a few stocks. Maybe check on your business (or workplace - whatever) and have some meetings there or preferably over the phone. Whatever it is - you enjoy it and its done by lunch. Then you go play golf. In the evening, you entertain some friends, enjoying fines wines and fine dining. Then you watch some TV, have sex and go off to sleep.

Now, reality is more like - 1/2 BHK depending on what city u r in, probably shared with some1 u dont necessarily like too much. 1 or no AC, 25" TV, MP3 on the comp. No car - or a Santro at best. You get up at 7-8 am, grumbling, get ready and rush off to work (in a local if u r in mumbai - thats the great leveller). You work for 10 hours, wasting some time, doing some meaningless work, sucking up to boss (at least a bit - if u know wats good for you), and doing a fair amount of productive work also. You get back, maybe have a drink or eat out, and just plop off watching TV unless its the weekend.

Tho people would ideally like scenario 1, they manage living scenario 2 without fussing too much. What keeps them going? Is it the money they earn? Is it the glamour of working for a 'Big' company? Is it the pseud friends they visit discos with, at the weekend? Is it 'doing something you like' and 'having a purpose' in life? Is it the respect of people who do worse? Stock options? Financial security and comfort? Dollar dreams? (u know - getting picked up by a co for a US assignment later in life) What is it?

What do I want in life? Why do I want to quit this job? Is it important to do something meaningful and enjoyable for the greatest part of one's life (the 10 hours in office)? Is it being with good people - who share ur interests, ur values and ur goals? Is it to just stay home and live in decent comfort and not stretch too much? What should one do? And most importantly, on what basis should one decice what to do with one's life?

To give credit where its due, Maslow gave some ideas. But thats all too vague.


  1. Well put... As u said... Motivators vary from people to people...

    Let me tell u my idea of motivation...

    I think...what motivates me is "Living for others". It does not necessarily mean that I dont want happiness in my own life, but working for something which will affect others lives, motivates me... it could be an indivdual who seeks assistance in kind or in cash...it could be my family... it could be my workplace... it could be starting a new venture and affecting people's (employees, customers, etc.) lives in a positive manner... it could be even people whom I dont know at all...

    Sounds too philosophical... but ya... I live for others... though its easier said than done... but I definitely try... I would go any extent to help others... Its the happiness in thier mind, brought by my small contribution, is what motivates me.

    Hope you got an answer but ofcourse our point of view might be different.


  2. Are you an aquarian, Kaushik?

    I can personally identify with a lot of what you said (being wiser 2 years after the original post!).

    Living to make a positive mark on others' lives (friends, family, colleagues, customers, or just tha world at large), is supposed to be a singularly aquarian trait!

  3. Well, your blog on" Motivation" in itself motivated me to dig down as to what it is & how one is supposed to interpret the same.
    But I was confused so thought I would probably ask what Google has to say & here we go, "Motivation is a term that refers to a process that elicits, controls, and sustains certain behaviors. For instance: An individual has not eaten, he or she feels hungry, as a response he or she eats and diminishes feelings of hunger"
    Now, following the above, this can be understood by various people in different innovative ways.
    For me personally, I would say anything that keeps one happy (I refer to eternal happiness) here be it spending quality time with your partner, family, kids or which gives me a push (be it going to a disc, owning a bungalow, going to a dream holiday or any materialistic pleasure) which ultimately leads to happiness (refer to external happiness) here can be defined motivation (Open for debate though)