Shawn Coyle on The Known & Unknown Motivators

We don’t know that we’re searching for something called “self-actualization,” we just find ourselves perplexed by the fact that we have every “need” checked off our list, but still we find ourselves lacking. No matter what we chase as a “want” to solve that emptiness, we’re left unsatisfied. What Steve calls Resistance is a force that pushes us away from the big questions. […]

So stories of depth and meaning are those that progress to this ultimate mystery, this ultimate need. The lead character may consciously desire a want, but it is his unconscious need for self-actualization that pushes him to the limits of human experience. […]

But remember, like their human counterparts, your fictional protagonists will distract themselves in innumerable ways from contending directly with them. They chase wants not needs. And in most instances, they will not consciously understand or reconcile the need to know themselves (who they really are) until the very end of the story.”

Shawn Coyle

I love studying story so much because it a) helps me understand my own motivations, needs, and wants, b) helps me understand people in general better, and c) helps me make things and communicate about those things in better ways, ways that resonate harder.

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