What Motivates You?

Most people don’t really know. If they have a vague idea, they don’t have the concrete language to communicate and give expression to their motivational drives to others. Most people think of motivation as something ephemeral—something that comes in bursts when the right incentives are put in place. But this is not how motivation works.

You have a core motivational drive that has probably been operative from a young age. If you examine your life closely enough, you will be able to find activities that brought you a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment—those times you were in a state of flow, or you lost track of time doing something that engaged you fully. Many of us have forgotten those stories or we don’t honor them enough.

In 2010, I went through a narrative-driven process that helped me make better sense of my desires. It helped me identify which of them were thick and enduring, and which ones were thin—fleeting, ephemeral, more mimetic. I found it so helpful that everyone I’ve hired since 2010 (and many of the people I work with as partners) has since gone through the same exercise so that we can understand how we’re respectively motivated.

While it’s not absolutely necessary to purchase and take the online assessment that I use (I lay out how to use this narrative-based approach in Chapter 6 of Wanting—at no cost), the Motivation Code, or MCODE, is extraordinarily helpful for many people in helping them identify their core motivational drives, which I consider an important step on the road to developing a more anti-mimetic disposition to work. If you’re interested in exploring the assessment, please follow the link below.

If you’ve pre-ordered or purchase Wanting, share a screenshot of your purchase on social media and tag me (along with hashtag #Wanting) and I’ll give you a $10 reader discount on the MCODE, which knocks the price down from $49 to $39.

(Note: I didn’t create this assessment. It is administered by a third-party. I’m sharing it because I know the effectiveness of the tool and I want to give my readers as many practical tools as possible to begin the process of drilling down to their core desires.)


You can visit my strategic partner, Pruvio, developers of the MCODE assessment, here. Navigate to “The Assessment” on the menu, and then scroll down and select “Personal Assessment.” The entire process takes about 30 minutes to complete.

I recommend spending 30 minutes of prep work first. Before you start taking the assessment, complete this short exercise. It will prepare you to get the most out of the process.


Learn more about the process of uncovering your core motivational drives in my book Wanting. The relationship between core motivational drive and desire is critical in the process of decluttering desires and acting with more intention about the kind of work we do and the way we spend our energy in every area of our lives.

Author Todd Henry on MCODE