Drivers

What exactly are drivers?  Drivers are those thoughts, attitudes, and motivations that cause us to behave in one way or another.  They can be described as the driving force behind any human behavior, including thought.  Some psychologists have tagged these drivers with such names as “ought” “musts” “should” and so forth.  Whatever you call them, these drivers are those thought processes that result in a sense of being compelled to behave one way or another.  There are as many drivers as there are human emotions and behaviors.  No one acts or thinks in any way without a driver behind it.  Not to be confused here, I am not saying that we cannot think and make decisions.  Indeed, these drivers are at the very basis of our decisions.  They explain the why of our thoughts and behaviors. 

Drivers are learned and are inherently human.  The exception is perhaps our instinct for survival.  Aside from this driving force, all of our thoughts and actions are the direct result of a driver, or a combination of drivers.  We develop drivers as we experience life from our very beginnings.  Freud might have called these drivers the id, that instinctive part of ourselves that seeks pleasure and avoids pain.  However, unlike Freud who basically claimed that our personalities are etched in stone by about age five, I believe we continue developing our personalities as we experience more and more in life. 

Some drivers are learned by trial and error, while others are learned by observing life, and those around us.  Drivers are not forced upon us by our environment however.  We only take for ourselves those drivers which are suitable to the person we are at the time.  The saying that the apple does not fall too far from the tree pretty much holds true with drivers, with exceptions.  We do not become carbon copies of our parents, or those who are predominantly around us when we are young, rather we end up being a good (or bad) mix of those drivers we observe and take on for ourselves our own perception of these drivers.  To be sure, our perception of what we see around us is not always as accurate as we might like to think.  Therefore, neither are those drivers we take from others as accurate.  Remember that we typically only do things that suit us and our thoughts of ourselves.

Perhaps it might be best to provide some examples of drivers at this point.  This list is not intended to be complete, but hopefully will provide enough examples so that you can get a good grasp of the concept I am trying to present here.  Examine this list carefully and see if you possess any of these typical drivers.  If you do that doesn’t mean you are in trouble.  Drivers are only problematic when they cause us to behave in a way that causes conflict within ourselves or with others. 

I must keep the house clean.

I must always have someone in my life.

I must not fail.

I must get that promotion.

I must be successful in everything I do in life.

I must not get angry.

I must not argue with my parents/wife/husband/children/friend.

I should not behave in a silly manner.

I should not talk badly about others.

I ought to be smarter.

I ought to be different.

I have listed only a few driving thoughts.  You can certainly think of many that you possess.  We all possess drivers.  Some are good drivers such as I should look before crossing the street.  Remember that drivers are only problematic when they cause conflict within ourselves or with others.