Flavors of Motivation

Flavors of Motivation
Photo by Diana Polekhina / Unsplash

Hey friends,

Something I've been thinking about lately is how there seems to be many different flavors of motivation for different people.

If you've been reading this newsletter (or my book) for awhile, you've probably heard me talk about The Four Cs of Motivation—a guiding framework for brainstorming new motivation strategies.

The Four Cs of Motivation:
Captivate (find the interest), Create (find the novelty),
Compete (find the challenge), Complete (find the urgency)

I find the Four Cs to be invaluable in helping me come up with new strategies, especially for tackling those tasks I hate to do.

But that's not what I've been thinking about lately.

Even with a great guiding framework for developing strategies, everyone needs to change up from time to time.

And while changing up these strategies, you'll likely find the some types tend to resonate more than others. You develop an intuition for which strategies will work for you, and which ones will not.

I often hear from people that will say one motivation strategy works amazingly for them, but another strategy just never works at all. And then someone else will say the exact opposite.

Personally, here are a few things that are often highly motivating for me:

  • Puzzle-solving: give me a challenge to solve and I will abandon everything else to get to that elusive solution.
  • Proving someone wrong: if someone tells me I can't do something, I will have infinite motivating energy to prove them wrong!
  • Researching something new: learning something new and chasing down my curiosities really seems to excite my brain and move me forward (if you're into Enneagram at all, I'm a strong 5 aka The Investigator).

And here are some strategies that I know work great for others, but rarely move the needle for me:

  • Risk-taking & adventure-seeking: skydiving might sound like the perfect source of dopamine for some people—but I'm quite happy staying safely on the ground!
  • Direct competition with others: maybe I've had too many competitive board games go wrong with everyone angry at 2am, because most direct competition often seems to demotivate me rather than spur me into action.

What is your particular flavor of motivation?

I'd love to hear more about what works best for you, and what doesn't: jesse@extrafocus.com.

Stay focused,
Jesse J. Anderson

P.S. Just wanted to say a quick thanks to everyone that filled out the survey last week! It's so helpful being able to hear directly from all of you in this way. Thanks for taking the time. 💙

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In sixth grade, my teacher tried to separate me and my new best friend because we were talking to each other too much, but we just kept on talking to each other from opposite sides of the room—disrupting the whole class.

So our teacher wisely made the choice to move us back next to each other and never separate us again the rest of the year.

20 years later we both got diagnosed with ADHD. 🙃


The hidden burden of undiagnosed ADHD is constantly needing to invent excuses in an attempt to explain or justify behavior that you don’t even understand yourself.