Which Psychological Drive Keeps You Stuck?

by | Oct 7, 2019 | Mindset

Are you driven? Of course, you are! All humans have drives that propel them to take action. Biological drives include hunger, thirst and a need for sleep. But there are psychological drives, as well.

Which Psychological Drive Keeps You Stuck?

Psychological drives include the desire of self-actualization, need for achievement, and a craving for belongingness. Sometimes, these drives motivate us to take actions that improve our lives. However, they can also become Mind Goblins that keep us stuck.

Drives to be perfect, to please others and to be strong can cause us to take actions that harm our productivity and make us unhappy. They create the exact opposite of what we want in our lives. They fill our lives with

  • A lack of accomplishment,
  • Vulnerability, and
  • Inter-personal difficulties.

These psychological drives can cause damage to our feelings, our relationships, our self-esteem, and even our health. They can wreak havoc with our business.

However, when we know what they are, our self-talk can tame, and even banish, them. Take a look at these drives and see if any of them apply to you.

The “Be Perfect” Psychological Drive

mug with the phrase done is better than perfectThe idea that people should be perfect is pervasive in our society. It is encouraged by the “perfect” people we are continuously exposed to in the media.

  • Models with the perfect bodies
  • Couples with perfect relationships
  • Business owners with amazing success

It is easy to slip in the habit of berating ourselves when we fall short of 100% perfection, which we inevitably will.

Many times, if someone doesn’t think she can be perfect, she does nothing at all.

Because of this dynamic, when we are less than perfect at something, our self-esteem can take a beating. Since no one is perfect at everything, and most of us are generally less-than-perfect at most things, it becomes a lose-lose-lose-lose situation. It can be paralyzing and debilitating, and it can keep us from achieving the things we want most.

Alcoholism, drug abuse, and overeating are common side effects of someone suffering from the “be perfect” drive.

As with all drives, the solution consists of recognizing that this is a problem in your life and responding to it by saying to yourself, “It’s okay to be less-than-perfect. It’s okay to be human. It’s okay to make mistakes.” Eventually, this positive self talk-will lead to feelings of confidence and allow you much greater productivity.

If you suffer from this drive, I recommend reading The Perfection Deception by Jane Bluestein, which I reviewed in December 2016.

The “Be Strong” Psychological Drive

strong ladies“What’s wrong with being strong?” you might ask. Nothing, as long as it is okay to be vulnerable and not strong, as well. However, people who suffer from the “be strong” drive believe that to show a lack of strength is wrong and that some of their feelings and needs are unacceptable or even despicable.

This psychological drive makes people believe that any need they may have is a weakness that needs to be overcome. This drive says, “you must do it all yourself,” and, “you must not ask for help from anyone.” Feelings of sadness or hurt or loneliness — the “weak” feelings — are unacceptable. They are humiliating feelings which must be hidden.

The “be strong” psychological drive is often activated in childhood when feelings of softness or vulnerability were punished or ridiculed. When these children grow up, they begin to treat themselves in the same manner.

The response to this drive is to first recognize it, of course, and then to say, “It’s okay to have feelings and to express them. All feelings are acceptable, and they are acceptable in front of others (with the exception of violence).”

If this is the drive that holds you back, I recommend reading Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown. You may also want to read this earlier blog posts:

The “Hurry Up” Psychological Drive

hurryHave you ever felt that there just wasn’t enough time to get things done and so you pushed yourself to accomplish more in less time? Then you might be suffering from the “hurry up” drive.

This psychological drive pushes us to do more and more, faster and faster. It becomes a trap that makes us impatient with ourselves and others. You can frequently see this when driving your car. Bad behavior on the part of other drivers is often caused by the “hurry up” drive. It can impede our productivity at work with us making tight deadlines and then either not being able to meet them or meet them at the risk of our health and our relationships.

Alas, this drive is becoming more and more prevalent in our society. People are in a hurry regardless of what they’re in a hurry about.

The correct response to this drive is to recognize that too much speed can cause you to make impulsive, inaccurate decisions that will only create problems in the long run. The truth is that the most effective action is the one that has been thought through.

If you suffer from this psychological drive, you might want to read one — or more — of these books:

The “Please Others” Psychological Drive

yes ladyAre you a compulsive people pleaser? Then you are driven by the psychological need to “please others.” This psychological drive demands that we are approved of above all else. People driven by this tyrant of the psychological drives can feel anxiety and depression and intense fear of rejection even from people who are not important to them. They have difficulty asserting their own needs. They often are unaware of their own feelings of resentment, until it builds up to a point where there is an incident.

This can create all kinds of problems in business, such as over-promising and under-delivering.

The response to this drive is first to understand that a good relationship has an inherent give-and-take aspect to it. Say to yourself,” It’s okay to please myself.” This is not selfishness. This is self-respect. It doesn’t mean that you won’t please others. It means that pleasing others is a choice and pleasing yourself is also an option.

If you suffer from this psychological drive, these books might prove helpful:

  • When It’s Never About You: The People-Pleaser’s Guide to Reclaiming Your Health, Happiness and Personal Freedom by Ilene S. Cohen
  • The Disease to Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome by Harriet B. Braiker
  • Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty… And Start Speaking Up, Saying No, Asking Boldly, And Unapologetically Being Yourself Dr. Aziz Gazipura

The “Try Hard” Psychological Drive

try hardThe fifth psychological drive that can keep you stuck is the “try hard” drive. At first, trying hard seems like a good thing, right? The problem is that this drive doesn’t allow you to set limits on your trying.

There’s a difference between trying hard and trying too hard. This has to do with setting boundaries. If there are no boundaries about how much you can help, how many things you can do, how soon you can do them, etc., then the important things become obscured by all the things you’ve committed yourself to do. There’s simply not enough time for everything.

The solution again is in our hands — you can choose not to overextend yourself. You don’t have to work on five committees or take on seven projects. Similar to the “please others” drive, the solution is to learn how to say, “no.” Recognize your limits and then let others know what they are. Allow others to help you and allow yourself to relax sometimes.

If this drive keeps you stuck, you might want to check out Grace That Breaks the Chains: Freedom from Guilt, Shame, and Trying Too Hard by Neil T. Anderson, Rich Miller, and Paul Travis or Finding Inner Peace: Lessons Learned from Trying Too Hard by Brent L. and Wendy C. Top.

The Paradox of Psychological Drives

As you could probably see, psychological drives can be paradoxical. On the one hand, they can push us to do better, but on the other, they can cause us to accomplish little or nothing. The key is to see when they are running amok with our lives and then tame them with positive self-talk and inner work.


Are any of these psychological drives keeping you from being the Authorneer you know you can be?

Do they stop you from writing your book or publishing it?

Do they stop you from building a business beyond the book?

Then I invite you to take a look at C.A.R.M.A. Code Coaching for Authorneers then schedule a Curious Conversation with me to see how I may help you harness those drives to benefit — rather than harm — your life and business.

woman behind bars


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