RI Week #3: The Major Motives of Behavior


“Behavior is guided by motives. There are two main types of motives: service and domination.

The motive of service produces love, friendship, admiration, neighborliness, good citizenship, patriotism, honesty, ethical conduct, loyalty, and courtesy. The motive of domination produces anger, hatred, contempt, disagreement, jealousy, envy and discourtesy.

In average life, the motive of service and the motive of domination do not exist in their pure state. A person inspired only by the spirit of service would be a saint; one inspired only by the urge for domination would be a monster. The average person is inspired by both motives and tends both to serve and dominate.

How can two opposite motives of behavior be expressed by one person? The answer is, by means of a healthy balance. A healthy balance of the two major motives makes for healthy group life.  IF those in a group insist on domination only, group life turns into endless struggle. If service is the only motive, group life is monotonous, colorless and lifeless.

You know the game called, “Tug of War”. One set of people tug at one end of a rope, another set of people tug at the other end. If the pulling strength of the two groups is equally balanced, there will be no action. On the other hand, if the distribution of forces is too unequally balanced, there will be no contest.  One of the groups will have a runaway victory. A healthy contest occurs only if the pull of the one team just over balances the pull of the other. So a balance is healthy if the opposing forces are neither equally matched nor too unequally matched. With motives, a healthy balance is maintained if service over balances domination without overwhelming it.

It is a popular belief that the spirit of service is most fully express in the home and that the spirit of domination is expressed more with strangers. In other words, it is thought that family is usually dealt with in the spirit of service, while strangers are dealt with in the spirit of domination. If this were true, irritation would be rare at home and common among strangers.

However, if you think of your own life, you know that most of your irritations come from your close relatives and friends. A smaller amount of irritation comes from people you know less well at school or work.  The strangers you see in the store or on the street are only occasionally a source of irritation. In other words, the average individual tends to be polite with strangers but loses his temper frequently with those close to him and is likely to be rude and impatient with them.

You all know of the person who frequently is late for dinner at home but on time when he meets his friends. When he is late for the outside date, he offers an apology. No apology is even thought of for being late to the dinner at home. The promptness and the apology to the friend are expressions of a spirit of service. The lack of courtesy to the family is an expression of domination.

In this persons pattern of behavior, there is no healthy balance between the two sets of motives. Domination wins at home and service wins outside. I call this kind of behavior “devil-at-home-angel-outside.”

Too many people save their best behavior for social contacts, but tend toward the domination when dealing with members of their own family. Your family life will greatly improve if you learn behavior and attitudes that express a healthy balance, with the spirit of service stronger than the spirit of domination.”


RI Week #2: Life Consists of Trivialities


“Life consists of trivialities and very little else. If you think of what you worry about, it’s trivialities. Whether you should buy a certain item or not. Whether you should buy it now or wait until the price goes down.  Should you spend money on unnecessary things  or should you save the money? These are trivialities, average happenings.

The average person deals constantly with average happenings, with trivialities. You eat, you sleep, you walk, you go to school, you see friends, you talk on the phone.  That takes up 90 percent of your day, if not 98 percent. Life consists of trivialities mainly. How often does a father die? Once in a lifetime. That’s not a common, average, trivial event. How often does somebody in the family get married, or somebody get born? How often does your house burn down? Whatever you call a big item happens rarely.

These trivialities of everyday life create responses in you. You either don’t notice them because they don’t interest you, or they cheer you because they please you, or they anger you, or scare you. Even the simplest triviality can scare or anger you. In the life of a parent, the fact that a baby cries is a triviality. A thousand things that the baby does are trivialities, but a mother may work herself up over each of these trivialities. The closer a relation is, the more trivialities can irritate, frustrate, anger and scare you.

Trivialities crowd your life, but any one of them may arouse your anger, your fear, your disgust, or your terror. I want you to learn how to deal with trivialities, not to get upset by trivialities. You must learn to handle the trivialities of daily life without temper. If you wish to be trained in this system, be prepared to listen to nothing but trivialities. That’s life.

Life is to get angry at a person who doesn’t look at you, or a person who stares at you, a person who talks too much, or a person who doesn’t talk at all. That’s life. It is also to eat a bad meal or a good meal. If you eat a bad meal, you feel anger. If you eat a good meal, they you feel enjoyment. That’s life. Utterly trivial. ”


Wow- If I hear the word trivialities one more time…. haha. To be honest, I get so worked up over the simplest things in everyday life. Being late for work, rushing home to pick up the kids, get upset at the kids for thrashing the house, getting upset with myself if I don’t get the dishes done after dinner. All of these things, ten years from now, I probably wont even remember. So why get worked up over it? Think about it. Lets gain some grateful perspective and enjoy everyday life. 🙂


Good group today, it was nice to hear and share stories. Until next week…


Recovery International


I’ve recently joined an RI group (Recovery International) through meetup.com. It is a weekly meeting with a handful of other people struggling with depression, anxiety and mental health. I joined this group for mental health reasons.

The RI group was founded in 1937 by Abraham Low. He was a neuropsychiatrist in Chicago, Illinois. It is a non-profit organization that helps people deal with self-control, self-confidence and the determination to act. You can find a group located near you through meetup. I encourage anyone with these struggles to check it out.

I have a huge fear of being in a new setting or atmosphere with people I do not know, by myself. However, when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom emotionally, you have to stand up and push forward. I over-came my fear and attended an RI group nearby. It was very interesting, I loved the organizer (who are mostly experienced non-professionals). There were several people who attended, including new comers like myself. I purchased two books, “The Wisdom of Dr. Low”, which are the quotations from the works of Dr. Low, and the second book I purchased was the RI discovery participant workbook. Each week we read a chapter out of the workbook and discuss as a group what we thought about the teachings. After we proceed to talk individually about the constructed 4 step outline to help us with a situation we may be struggling with.

Step 1: Report a single situation or event that caused you to get yourself worked up. Give a brief description of what happened, what triggered temper and symptoms?

Step 2: Report the symptoms you experienced, both physical and metal. (Fearful thoughts, angry, confusion, disturbing impulses, tightness in your chest, lowered feelings, sweaty palms, etc.)

Step 3: Report your spotting of fearful or angry temper, use the RI tools to spot yourself and give self-endorsement for your effort.

Step 4: Begin with “before I had my RI training,” and describe the temperamental reaction and symptoms you would have experienced in former days. What would have happened then versus what would have happened now?

After discussing all four steps with the group, the group then volunteers to endorse you for your effort as well. This is a great way to help me calm myself down when I get myself worked up with anger. I am still new to this group, however I encourage anyone to try it. I am going to take notes in each group and write out my thoughts each week.


“The one and only goal of the patient must be to regain his mental health.  In order to achieve it, the goals and whims and wishes of “human nature” must be held down with ruthless determination.” – Dr. Low