Over the last 20 years, Life Engineering (hereafter referred to as LE) has been on a mission to understand what drives human achievement and how to help people identify, access and achieve their full potential.

LE’s research has indicated there are three main categories that impact achievement. These include:

  • Time – How much time someone gives, how they use that time, and how productive they are with that time
  • Talent – What applicable skills that person has or develops that they can apply
  • Energy – The motivation, drive, commitment, enthusiasm and level of engagement that person feels for what they’re doing

LE particularly wanted to dive deep into the category of Energy and motivation, because what LE found is that when someone has more Energy for something, they tend to give it more time, and be better with the time they spend on it. They also tend to develop more Talent for that thing.

Because of this (and other things), LE found that of Time, Talent and Energy, Energy is the number one driver of achievement and success. This is especially true for an objective or initiative that happens over a longer period of time… LE calls these Journeys.

LE did extensive research to identify what motivates people, where they get their drive, what gets them started and what keeps them engaged and moving forward (including on a macro scale, like in life; on a large scale, like over a career, or in a relationship or project; or on a micro scale, like over the span of a day).

Through its research, LE identified 16 Elements that, when present or active, are what causes someone to be emotionally engaged, motivated, and driven to move forward.

LE also found that the reason these Elements are “Motivators” are because they are fundamental aspects of our identity. A given Element is motivating to us because it’s fundamental to our personality, to who we are.

In other words, these 16 Elements define not only what motivates us, but also define our core attributes, skills, competencies and personality types. 


The 16 Elements

The 16 Elements are: Perspective, Identity, Objective, Plan, Relationship, Space, Mentor, Environment, Score, Momentum, Investment, Alignment, Impact, Growth, Value, and Renewal.

Element Attributes

Each Element has 4 primary attributes. One is what LE calls an Essence Attribute. It captures the essence of that Element. The other three attributes are unique and specific to that Element, but help make up the basic foundation of how that Element impacts our Energy (our ability to Engage or be motivated).

Element Attributes and Engagement

When these attributes are high for an individual, either in life or within an aspect of their life (LE calls the categories of life we tend to spend the most time in, invest in, or optimize for Critical Contexts or Journeys), then that individual will have more energy and be more engaged.

Element Attributes and Personality

When an Element is a core part of an individual’s personality, they will tend to experience the positive aspect of each attribute. When an Element doesn’t rank high in their personality, then they often experience the negative aspects of that Element’s attributes.

In the descriptions of each Element and its Attributes, “you” will represent and be something that could be said about the individual, reflecting whether they have high or low scores in that Element.


Element Description – Perspective

The lens you look through. This is about your ability to forge a lens that you look through and control how you interpret the meaning of events that have happened in the past, in the present, or that you perceive to be in your future. When your Perspective is constructive, you are more motivated to move forward.

General Description:

This Element is about the lens you choose to look through as you process the past, look forward into the future, interpret the circumstances of the present, and decide what story they tell when you put them all together.

Essence Attribute:

“I am looking through a healthy lens.”

When ranked high, you see the context you’re in through a healthy lens that keeps you motivated and engaged.

When ranked low, the lens you look through is demotivating, and corrosive to the context (sometimes referred to as the “orbit”) you’re in and the outcomes you’re pursuing.

Attribute 1:

“I process the past in a way that fuels the future.”

When ranked high, the narrative of where you’ve been fuels your forward progress by giving you a positive lens on where you are today and where you’re capable of going.

When ranked low, the perspective of your past acts as a anchor to progress. It holds you back, creating a negative lens of the present and dampening your perceived potential.

Attribute 2:

“I am primarily focused forward.”

When ranked high, you can see your future clearly, with added brightness and color and optimism. That clear picture entices, engages and draws you forward.

When ranked low, the perspective of your future is clouded and muddy and hard to perceive. When you cannot perceive clearly where you are going and what it will feel like to get there, you are less motivated to move forward.

Attribute 3:

“I constructively view the present.”

When ranked high, you see your present and interpret current events in a constructive way that creates confidence, growth, and wisdom; and that causes you to engage and lean in.

When ranked low, the view you have of where you are and what that means taxes your confidence, erodes your identity, eats away your optimism, and creates a victim mindset.


Element Description – Identity

Your connection to self. This is about knowing who you are, what you’re good at, and your desire to understand and be yourself.

General Description:

This is about knowing who you are, what you’re capable of, and believing in yourself. It’s about knowing how to bring that best self to the Context that you’re in, and finding those contexts and their activities relevant to that sense of self.

Essence Attribute:

“This aligns to who I am.”

When ranked high, you will feel deeply connected to the context you’re in and the work you do, and that connection will feel motivating and empowering.

When ranked low, you will feel disconnected with the context you’re in and the work you do in it, and that will feel demotivating and will create disengagement.

Attribute 1:

“I see how my pursuits contribute to my larger journey.”

When ranked high, you can see how your Investments will help fuel your larger journey. That alignment of short and long term objectives creates a feeling of engagement to move forward.

When ranked low, you can’t see how the Investments required make any difference to your larger objectives and journey, and the lack of alignment makes the efforts feel irrelevant and unimportant.

Attribute 2:

“I see how my pursuits align to my strengths.”

When ranked high, you can see how your strengths align to your objectives, and you feel confident that you can be successful. That confidence helps you feel more engaged and ready to move forward.

When ranked low, you can’t see how your strengths align to your objectives. When this is true, you can’t see yourself succeeding and you pull back and disengage, largely for fear of failure.

Attribute 3:

“I see how my pursuits align to the person I want to become.”

When ranked high, you can see how your current pursuits will help you become the person you want to become—even if it’s not the person you are today—and the promise of that potential engages you.

When ranked low, you don’t see how these Investments will help you become the person you want to become. They also may too strongly represent the person you were in the past, and you are ready to move on.


Element Description – Objective

Where you’re going and what you want to accomplish. This is about having a clear understanding of where you’re going, being able to see that destination clearly and compellingly.

General Description:

This is about seeing your destination clearly, of knowing where you’re going and the general journey you need to take to get there, and finding that you care about and find purpose in both.

Essence Attribute:

“I’m excited about what I’m trying to achieve.”

When ranked high, you will feel a powerful draw toward the destination that you’re pursuing. The idea of being there will feel exciting and exhilarating, and those feelings will keep you engaged.

When ranked low, the end-state will feel unclear or unmotivating. It won’t exert a pull on you, and without that emotional draw it will be hard to find the energy to keep investing.

Attribute 1:

“I see the destination clearly.”

When ranked high, you have the long-term clarity that comes when you can visualize the destination. The clarity of that view is compelling and engages you to do the work to get there.

When ranked low, you struggle to see where you’re going and the lack of clarity creates a reluctance to invest. You disengage because you’re unsure if the work will be worth it.

Attribute 2:

“I see the milestones of the journey ahead.”

When ranked high, the overall journey you need to travel is clear, even if the next steps aren’t. That understanding of the journey, not just the destination, feels exciting and achieveable.

When ranked low, the overall journey is unclear, and it’s difficult to find confidence to move forward. The ambiguity of what it will take to get there causes you to disengage and pull back.

Attribute 3:

“I care personally about the destination.”

When ranked high, the destination is viewed as something you care about personally, making it even more desirable and increasing your sense of engagement to get there.

When ranked low, the destination is not one that you personally care about, and even if you see it clearly, it doesn’t compel you to want to reach it.


Element Description – Plan

Your way forward strategy. This is about your ability to see the way forward, to know what steps to take next, and to chart a course to the objective.

General Description:

This is about knowing what you need to do next, having a clear set of milestones that you are confident will get you to your destination, and being excited about and finding purpose in the work you have to do to get there.

Essence Attribute:

“I know what I need to do to move forward.”

When this is high, you will feel confidence in your path and in your actions, increasing feelings of engagement and making it easier to take action and move forward.

When this is low, the uncertainty of the way forward will cause you to feel hesitant and hold back. It can cause you to disengage and fail to invest for fear of going the wrong way or doing the wrong thing.

Attribute 1:

“I have next-step clarity.”

When ranked high, you feel like the clarity of your next steps make them easier to take, increasing your level of engagement.

When ranked low, you will feel like the ambiguity and confusion around what to do next causes you to disengage, and feel more hesitant and reluctant to take any step at all.

Attribute 2:

“I feel excitement for the work.”

When ranked high, you feel excited about the actual work you’re doing, about the steps you need to take and the path you have to travel.

When ranked low, you aren’t excited by the work you have to do and the path you have to travel, which can make traveling it very hard and create feelings of disengagement.

Attribute 3:

“I feel confident the path I’m on will lead to success.”

When ranked high, the confidence you have in the path you’re traveling will increase your feelings of engagement to move forward.

When ranked low, your lack of confidence in the path you’re traveling will create feelings of pessimism and doubt, causing you to hold back and disengage.


Element Description – Relationship

Being connected to others. This is about your ability and desire to love and appreciate and connect to those who are around you, to provide strength to them and get strength from them.

General Description:

This is about having connection and camaraderie. It’s about doing the things you care about with people you care about. It’s about being committed to, supported by, and motivated by them.

Essence Attribute:

“I’m not alone in my journey.”

When ranked high, you tend to feel increased confidence in your likelihood of success. You enjoy the journey more, and have access to support to keep you moving forward, even when it’s tough.

When ranked low, the loneliness you feel can create feelings of uncertainty, causing you to hold back. You may fail to invest, especially when it’s hard, because nobody else will know. Each of these can lead to disengagement.

Attribute 1:

“I have people involved that I care about.”

When ranked high, you tend to more fully engage. You feel a deeper and more nuanced sense of commitment. You feel like you’re not alone, and all of this can drive you forward.

When ranked low, you tend to feel isolated and lonely. Your commitment is more superficial and more easily abandoned. Combined, this can create feelings of disengagement.

Attribute 2:

“I have people involved who can help me.”

When ranked high, you tend to more fully engage, confident you have access to the help you need to do the work you’re trying to do.

When ranked low, you tend to disengage, worried that you may get stuck and find yourself lacking the support you need to get unstuck.

Attribute 3:

“I have people involved who believe in and encourage me.”

When ranked high, the confidence and encouragement of others act as an independent and outside motivator to keep moving.

When ranked low, crippling feelings of isolation and doubt can set in, imposter syndrome is unchecked, and disengagement usually follows.