Thursday, March 19, 2009

Taking Control of Perception and Motivation

A post from 2007 that is worth reviewing describes brief therapy for the mentally well. The basic notion behind that post is that making psychological changes typically requires the ability to program our states of consciousness.

A great example involves traders who report that they lack the motivation to keep a journal, set and pursue goals, etc. For them, motivation is either something that comes to them or doesn't. They do not operate with the framework that they can generate their own motivation.

Once you recognize that motivation is an outgrowth of how you perceive an activity, then you realize that it is potentially in your full control. If you perceive that not getting something done will result in dire consequences, you're more likely to get it done. If you perceive that getting something done will bring great returns, you'll be more likely to pursue the activity. If you perceive that an action is central to who you are and who you want to be, you'll be more likely to take that action.

When perception is passive, we are not in control of how we relate to the activities of our lives. Once we take charge of how we construe the world, we become able to summon pools of energy and drive that we didn't recognize were there.

If there is something you've been wanting to do but haven't gotten around to it, your perceptual process is what is holding you back. How would you have to perceive that activity to make it a pressing priority? How could you make that perceptual scheme a regular part of you? What perceptions currently drain you of energy and drive?

Perceptions are the food of the mind--and body. Much of success boils down to eating well.


markus said...

So you go, fast food nation...

fuad said...

When do you sleep ?

bruce said...

Easy for those of us who believe that "whatsoever you sow, that shall you also reap".
But how do folks that believe that a cause may randomly mutate into a completely different effect convince themselves that this time they'll get the just rewards of their efforts?
Harder to do, wouldn't you agree?

Joseph said...

Thanks for the post Dr. Steenbarger! Your blog is not only a great resource for trading, but I myself applying many things I've learned here for personal growth as well.

Always appreciate your insights!

Krasimir said...

"Perceptions are the food of the mind--and body. Much of success boils down to eating well."

It's so true!!!

Brett Steenbarger, Ph.D. said...

Hi Fuad,

When I'm on the road, I get about 5 hours sleep per night; more when I'm home. I find that waking up early when there are few distractions (phone calls, emails, etc) is very helpful in terms of getting writing, blogging, trade planning, etc done.


Brett Steenbarger, Ph.D. said...

Hi Bruce,

Yes, if someone believed that their life outcomes were random mutations and not causally linked to their actions, that would be discouraging and depressing. Of course, a true evolutionary perspective would find superior adaptation in some of those mutations--


Brett Steenbarger, Ph.D. said...

Thanks, Joseph; I look forward to staying in touch and appreciate the feedback--