The Desire Engine is a way of thinking about what pulls us through life. Desire Engines
are cycles of thought, choice, action, and evaluation that are always operating within us in our day-to-day lives. Whether you are wanting a snack, planning a family vacation, or reacting to a criticism, Desire Engines
are at work. Once more, on the way from Perception
and back again, we're energized to move forward—we are motivated. All emotions and stresses in our lives are somehow related to our desires—either something we want, or something we don't want to lose.
Try this experiment. Think of one or more emotional scenarios that you remember having this past week. It doesn't matter what you pick, but try choosing one emotionally stressful, and one emotionally pleasurable situation to work with. For each, ask yourself, "What is it that I wanted (or didn't want to lose) in this situation?" I think you'll find that you can easily trace your feelings to your desires.
You'll notice tension and stress where beliefs, thoughts, values, and action choices conflict with your wants, and you'll notice relief and ease—and expansive emotions—where that latter align with the former. This works whether the desire was the simple expectation that you'd feel a certain way in a certain situation, or whether desire is a long-term cherished aspiration.
Going forward, such an awareness can make a remarkable difference in how deliberate you are about choosing your future desires. You'll pay better a attention to how your beliefs, thoughts, values, and action choices align with those desires.
Please note, there are important differences between the Success Waypoint Desire Engine that I created in 2007, and the "Desire Engine" created by Nir Eyal almost 5 years later.
Nir's work, first published in TechCrunch
, is interesting and useful, and seeks to describe how technologies can engage and "addict" users into habit-forming behaviors. Essentially Nir is using his Desire Engine
in a way that suggests how professionals playing in the marketing, social application, and game design spaces can "create" desire in their prospective and current users. The Success Waypoint (SW) model, on the other hand, seeks to describe how desire operates in our psychology and in our lives
—literally powering us, by infusing us with emotional energy. In this sense the word "engine" in the SW model refers to internal
powering, and not, as in Nir's model, an external
force acting with intent to influence us.I find Nir's model useful in showing how we literally give our power away.
The SW Desire Engine shows that the power is always with us, and if we become more conscious or our internal desire process, we are less likely to fall into the traps described by Nir's.
Used as a self-coaching
model, the Success Waypoint version of the Desire Engine
can help us look deeply at our choices in any given moment, and test how they align with the outcomes we want and expect from our future. It's but one extremely helpful tool we can use towards achieving Life Alignment.