Don’t mistake personality traits for motivation. People may have the same traits for wildly different reasons. Traits may change through experience, while motivation usually remains unchanged throughout our lives. Motivation comes out of the process of actualizing your intent. For example, two people appear to be very helpful by sharing information with a client. However, one is sharing information because he intends to sell the information to another client. The other is sharing information because they take pride in being needed. Both are equally friendly, helpful people, but over time and in other situations, you determine that their motivations are quite different.

Seeing past personality and into motivation is not only very useful for judging the likely future behavior of others, it is also a way to understand your own behavior and to take intelligent advantage of your real strengths. In this example, you must understand your intent as energized by avarice in the first case and pride in the second case. Neither one is superior to the other. The merits of each case are decided by how the benefit resulting from the action is used.

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