We are not the highest version of ourselves which we can imagine, we are the lowest version of ourselves which we can accept.
People are more motivated from loss than gain. We do more not to lose than to gain. Consider this A sales rep who has been presented with the condition to lose his salary in lieu of failure or to gain more salary in lieu of success will be more motivated with the loss clause.
Our primal instinct is to survive. Anything that is perceived as a threat to our survival is elevated to urgent attention, like when we touch a hot pot on the stove. We instinctually and immediately respond by withdrawing from that stimulus causing the pain.
Loss creates pain, sometimes physical, but more often psychological. This pain is evident in a cascade of associated negative feelings and emotions like deep longing, depression, sadness, mourning, grieving, etc. The degree, if strong enough, can manifest in physical pain as well. These can snowball and require much emotional energy. It’s no wonder some find suicide as the only option “out” of the situation when such pain gets too much to bear—in other words, life is perceived as not worth surviving.
Our primal instinct is to do anything and everything to eliminate or reduce that pain. Thus, fear (of loss and pain) can act a very powerful motivator.
By contrast, there is no urgency to the “desire to gain” by itself. As long as you can survive and most of your needs are met, there is very little (emotional) motivation to gain more than one has. The status quo doesn’t require additional expenditure of energy. One can simply enjoy “surviving.”
Find the right balance of the two, you might have the formula you need to make progress toward whatever goal you desire.
Fear of loss is something which can be universally understood. You know what you have, and usually can imagine how it would be to lose it- and you don’t want to allow that to happen
‘Desire to gain’ can only work as well as fear of loss for folks with with a sufficiently developed supply of greed and/or the self confidence to believe that they will attain their desire to gain whatever . Or if they are folks with nothing to lose.