Eason Exclusive: Your One Wild and Precious Life by Maureen Gaffney

We are delighted to welcome acclaimed psychologist, writer, and broadcaster Maureen Gaffney to share her insight on the three fundamental psychological drives and the roles in which they play to help us navigate our changing life course. 

Dr. Maureen Gaffney ~ Your One Wild and Precious Life: An Inspiring Guide to Becoming Your Best Self at Any Age

The life course may be changing but our fundamental drives remain constant

You don’t come into this world psychologically naked. You come ready equipped with three fundamental psychological drives:

  • the need for close connection with other people
  • the need for autonomy, and
  • the need for competence.

A sense of autonomy, the right kind of closeness, and feeling effec- tive in your life – these three drivers are the big engines of personal development at every life stage and the non-negotiable requirements for a happy, fulfilled and successful life.

Navigating the new life course

  • Closeness: The drive for closeness takes three forms. The first and most intense expression is your need to form an attachment to at least one person who will protect and support you, especially when you are vulnerable. The second is the drive to form close relationships that bind you to friends and allies, providing a sense of belonging. The third is the drive to care for offspring, for those you love, or for someone who is vulnerable or in need of help.

  • Autonomy: The drive to be an active agent in your life, to govern yourself, and to shape the direction and organization of your life. You want to explore the world around you, and inside you, so you can keep growing and developing into the fullness of who you are. There are many givens in life that you can’t control: such as your innate temperament; the family and life circumstances in which you were reared; and random events (the lucky breaks and unpredictable setbacks). Yet, the nature of being human is to be an actor, and to exercise what control you can over your life. That sense of autonomy is what gives you the inner authority to claim your own choices and to own your own experiences. This is how you stake out the core of your individuality.

  • Competence: The drive to master things, to be good at what you do, to manage the different domains of your life, and to rise to whatever challenges life throws at you.


Maureen’s book ‘Your One Wild and Precious Life: An Inspiring Guide to Becoming Your Best Self at Any Age’ is published now, and is available to buy here: