Self-transcendence is a uniquely human trait that enables humankind not only to reflect on the past, but also on an impending future. Not only do you have the innate ability to discover who you are, but you are also bestowed with the capacity to inquire about the future. Thinking about the future is a cognitive cause of motivation. In other words, you are more likely to do something because it will lead to something else. The purpose of cognitive decision-making is to elevate yourself from position A to position B.
Intentional thought is a very powerful force that requires deliberate conscious consideration to initiate change. You can survive based on your animal instincts or operate on auto-pilot by relying on your learned or unconscious habits and innate tendencies. In order to thrive (not merely survive) you must consciously and cognitively develop and implement productive auto-pilot processes. Sometimes you have to be awakened consciously before you can realize you are surviving rather than thriving.