Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what really drives you to make your decisions?

Harvard researchers Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria have collated much of the thought leadership from a range of fields, on what drives us to make the choices we make.

Their research reveals that all humans make the choices they do based on four key drivers which are:

The drive to acquire (This includes the drive to acquire objects, experiences, money, and the things money can and can’t buy – this is with the goal of improving our status relative to others)

The drive to bond (to belong in long-term, mutual caring, committed relationships) The drive to learn (to comprehend and make sense of ourselves, life and our world)

The drive to defend (to protect one’s loved ones, our beliefs and resources from harm)

The authors make the important point that these drives sometimes act in complementary ways, but at other times they are in conflict with each other and that these drives significantly influence but do not totally determine particular behaviour.

What I really like about the approach of this book is how the authors provide the evidence and explanation of potential outcomes from each of the Drives, they also provide discussion on the “Dark Side” of each of the drives and how just ‘giving in’ to being driven to acquire, bond, learn or defend may not always be the most appropriate choice.

In chapter two the authors draw on a quote from Aristotle “Humans are social animals endowed with reason” which as I read this book, kept reminding me that although each of these drives maybe innate, the fact that humans can, despite being driven to ‘want’ something, can make intentional choices through using our ‘reasoning’ to check on the bigger WHY behind those choices, and whether what is driving us is at our best interest and at the best interest of others.