Hacking into our Ancient Physiology to Enhance Motivation and Energy

  1. We have all struggled from time to time to create motivation in our lives. Maybe we’ve missed an energy boost when we have needed to complete something. Maybe we have woken up lethargic and long to head back to bed. What if I told you of a natural way that our bodies release energy and to advise you how you can hack into it? Would that be worth knowing?

Sitting within us is a natural physiology that’s designed to bring energy to us when we need it. This phenomenon has kept us safe and has allowed us as a species to survive and thrive. It is known by it’s acronym, D.I.P.I. and is still as relevant today as it was in our formative years, living in small communities, in our hunter-gatherer lifestyles.

Energy is released sub-consciously when one of the following occurs.

  • When we are threatened by something – DANGER
  • When we are interested in something – INTEREST
  • When we find something pleasurable – PLEASURE
  • When something is important to us – IMPORTANT

The four key requirements for energy release. Danger, Interest, Pleasure, and Importance.

Danger is the obvious one. We can only imagine the urgent need for energy when confronted by a saber-tooth tiger, woolly mammoth or a giant bear in our earlier times. When we are facing a threat, or feel we are in danger we get a sudden burst of energy, amongst other things like adrenaline which provide the energy and motivation for us out get out of harm’s way. It happens today when we face a looming deadline or exam or facing the consequences of something that’s gone wrong, we have a high dose of energy available to us for our use.

Have you ever lost track of time working through something which you have found to be all-encompassing?  At times we lose track of everything, our energy and focus are directed towards what we are engrossed in. Our deep interest in something releases dopamine and drives our motivation to continue delving into it.

Pleasure is a danger area for us. If it wasn’t for this function, we may have struggled to populate the world, but it also plays a major role in our “slaves to short-term desire” way of living. When something we have done is pleasurable, the energy that’s released enables us. This is important to understand as it explains some of the behaviours we see in our world today.

Finally, when something is important to us, it gets done. The relative importance we place on something determines how motivated we are to achieve it. This explains the reason why some people will buy their season football tickets, six months in advance yet continually forget their wife’s birthday or wedding anniversary. It’s the relative importance that drives our behaviours.

Now we know that, let’s look at how we can hack into this for our advantage.

Tapping into Our Physiology to Build Our Success

We have the ability to build a personal strategy to help us succeed in life. Here is how:

Interest is the foundation block for our personal strategy. It is known that when we are interested in something we generate the dopamine release within our neuro networks. This helps us become engrossed in it. But have you ever become interested in something that you previously had no interest in? Have you ever found the mundane compelling? Why?

We have been endowered with the ability for conscious thought and when we use this to focus, It is amazing what we can do. We can change our physiological approach to conscious thought. If you want to maximize motivation in anything you want to achieve, focus drives interest and this will change our physiology and release energy.

Importance is critical to our success. When it’s important it gets done. They key here is to know what’s important. When we know this, our behaviours align and drive the actions needed to realise this. Being very specific with what is important, creates desire and builds success. If it’s important it get’s done. The most important becomes the priority. If you want success, be very specific about what it looks and feels like, assign it as a priority and get out there and do it.

Pleasure can be our nemesis, and we need to tweak this. Again, our ability as conscious animals provides the basis of our strategy. Satisfaction is the key term here. Delivering on a goal or an outcome provides an amazing sense of satisfaction. When the anticipation of this sense of satisfaction is greater than the quest for short-term pleasure, we are rewarded again by the chemical neurotransmitter dopamine, that keeps us in the game. The anticipation of the reward keeps us working toward our goal. Setting sights on long-term satisfaction and not short-term gratification is crucial to our success. Short-term gratification ultimately becomes hollow, and more is needed to gain the same response. Hence the reason many make poor lifestyle choices. Funnily enough, I believe the same applies to long-term satisfaction. The results we previously found satisfying, no longer have the same appeal. Hence, we strive to achieve more. Where would you rather be?

Finally, we add danger to our strategy. Setting deadlines create urgency, enabling us to tap into this physiology. Furthermore, committing to a deadline drives behaviour, and links directly with the importance we have placed on it.  An alternative strategy is to understand the consequences if we don’t deliver on this. If your family is important to you, going to the pub every night increases the risk of losing them. If being healthy is important, eating junk food and living a sedentary lifestyle, places your health at risk. Aligning deadlines and consequences help support your overall strategy.

In Summary

Achieving great things in your life is enhanced by tapping into our physiology for energy release. Focus in to create interest, assign and commit to it’s importance, stay focused on the long-term prize and the satisfaction that brings, create urgency through deadlines and understand the consequences of the wrong behaviour.

Combining our conscious and intentional thought with our ancient and sub-conscious energy release enhances our ability to achieve and succeed in our lives. It’s a hack that we are all capable of.

About Author

Tony Curl

Tony Curl has been a successful corporate leader for 30 years. He now works alongside leaders in Australia to maintain clarity on their vision and purpose, and helps map their way around their roadblocks and obstacles. Unless you take action on your goals, they remain a dream.

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