Why do People Do What they Do?

Every Individual is trying to feel better

Consider this statement for a moment:

“Every individual, in every moment, is trying to feel better.”

Every person (and animal) has a basic drive to feel better. This is not a conscious decision but an instinctive, automatic impulse. And “feeling better” will be different for each person. For many people feeling bad feels better… better than they would be feeling otherwise. This can lead to self-destructive behaviour or hurting others. But, no matter what the behaviour and choices, the driving force behind them is an unconscious urge to feel better. In some way.

 

The guy who cuts you off in traffic is doing so because something inside him believes he will feel better (for example, something in him believes that the frustration, fear or anger he is currently feeling will be alleviated by driving faster/ getting where he’s going sooner/ getting in front of other cars…). The person who commits a crime; the person who lies; the person who is violent; the child who is “naughty” – every single individual is, in any given moment, unconsciously trying to feel better. There are two main reasons that remembering this will help:

 

1. When you remember this fact, you will find you have more patience, understanding and tolerance – which will make YOU feel better.

2. When people are given more effective ways to feel better, they will choose those to replace their more destructive behaviour – as long as they are convinced subconsciously that those ways will work better.

 

Learning to use the Superpower exercise to manage your emotional state will change what you choose to do unconsciously to feel better.