Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Feelings Drive Behavior

"They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

- Carl W. Buechner

This may be a simple statement, but it more often than not rings true - if we are being truly honest with ourselves.

I know that it is true for me and once I became cognizant about the reasons - and the process - in which I think and act the way I do, I was able to effect change in myself and in my environment.

I think every person has deeply personal emotional needs that are far more powerful than their knowledge needs. Generally, emotions drive behaviors, making them far more important than facts and logic in the behavior change process.

Stop and think about what makes you feel and act the way you do and the process in which you experience others and the world around you day-to-day be it at home, or office.

All people want to feel good about themselves. If we can understand the underlying emotional motivators that drive a person's behavior, then we can better understand and then better communicate or deal with that person.

Generally, I think people feel good about themselves when they feel more powerful, intelligent, capable, successful and secure. I know that this is true for me on most days, unless I have a need to feel otherwise be it victim, saint, matyr or hero.

I used to find external reasons or excuses as to "why" I was feeling the way I was, oftentimes wanting to place blame on anyone but myself.

Now, I try to step outside of myself - or my emotional reaction - to try to understand "why" I feel the way I do and what gain I am getting from the behavior or message I am sending AND receiving.

Sometimes I do know and choose not to care so that I can wallow in whatever my primary and secondary gains are in the particular instance but more often than not; I do try to examine, reflect and take a hard, honest look at myself to see what I am really doing and wanting from the situation.

Emotions drive behaviors — but facts and information are still an important part of understanding your own or another person's behavior process. I think feelings and emotions hook people first and logic and factual information follow close behind.

If and when people are motivated to change, they need to have simple, practical information to act on to use as a springboard for growth, understanding and ultimately change.

Otherwise, one stays in the "well, that is the way I am" state of being and no growth, introspection or change can occur

Both emotions and knowledge must work together for change, but I truly believe emotions come first and are paramount to what drives our behavior, and if you can understand the process of 'how' and 'why' you act the way you do - it will only then open the door to true growth and self-enlightenment; as well as improving your ability to work and communicate with other people.


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