Motivation and Success

Our chances of success are impacted by our level of motivation.

That seems obvious. But there are two problems. It insinuates that our motivation must stay at a certain level in order to be successful and it suggests that a lack of success is because there simply isn’t motivation to do so.

Motivation certainly contributes to one’s success in any given goal or task, but there are other fundamental issues that may be crucial factors. Sometimes I have been successful when my motivation wasn’t all that high, but I was willing to do the work anyway.

We mistakenly believe that motivation must stay high all the time in order to be successful. I would like to offer that there must be enough motivation to complete any given task, but it doesn’t nor can it always remain high.

A body in motion tends to stay in motion, a body at rest tends to lay on a couch.

Sometimes motivation can be increased by simply taking an action. Any small action can potentially increase the willingness to take another, thereby increasing the odds of potential. If the action seems random or meaningless, the action might not be enough to increase motivation.

Therefore motivation levels could be impacted by a certain mind-set into the value of any given task, its completion and its ultimate value or relevance. In other words, if you believe that a task has value, then it might motivate you to do more. If you believe that the task is random or carries little meaning, then the mind-set might promote further lack of motivation.

Let’s say you have a goal to eat healthy. But your house is filled with unhealthy foods that you have purchased. You might have a conflicting goal. For example you might want to be healthy but at the same time have a goal to purchase items that your family will enjoy because you believe that makes you lovable, a good person, a good spouse, etc.

Your goal is to be healthy. But your other goal is to be loved and accepted. Both are valuable goals and we can’t judge one over another. But we can evaluate how one goal gets in the way of another and see if we can change the goals.

Another goal might be to exercise more. This conflicts with the goal of keeping your job which is asking you to work 10+ hours a day. You find you are really too tired to work out. Are you supposed to give up the goal? Not necessarily but you may have to reasonably modify it, including your own expectations of what is feasible.

Another goal might be to make more money. But you have a secondary goal to stay healthy. If you try and increase time to make more money, it might impact your health. An additional goal might be to meet more people, but a conflicting goal is to catch up on a Netflix show.

When you start looking at your goals on one hand and your behaviors as goals on the other hand, you might discover where the conflicts lie for your motivation towards success. Once you see these conflicts as conflicting goals, it might help you unravel what you truly want and what you are reasonably willing to do to get there.

Some things take longer. Some things won’t happen. Motivation sometimes has nothing to do with one’s chance of success. Sometimes we aren’t meant to succeed at something. I truly believe there are lessons and being successful isn’t always what it means to our Western way of thinking. While the goal may not be met, deep learning happens. Lessons are the reason we are here. Do we want to learn the lesson being offered to us? Do we want to wake up, realize something and grow?

Your history comes with you.

Anything you attempt to succeed at has a certain interference from your history. We all have biases based on whatever has happened to us in the past. These biases can hinder our motivation. We develop patterns that keep us in the same place and therefore cannot always root past those patterns to find success.

These patterns, some might call sabotage, are very de-motivating. We can experience putting real effort into something and not get the results we believe we should. It’s very difficult to analyze ourselves to see what actions we are doing that gets in our way. Instead we shut down by putting ourselves down and close down the experience of understanding.

For some of us the learning curve is longer. We have to go through certain experiences and be willing to learn from them to change our current outcomes. These curves are winding and challenging, with deep curves and precipices to navigate through. Two people have similar goals, but person A has a fairly straight path with some potholes to overcome. Person B has a mountain cliff with a six inch rim to survive navigating through.

Person B’s journey is simply going to be different and their success will be no less meaningful, but it may take much longer and the lesson or the “success” may look different in the end than the original goal.

So Person B might have to question having a goal that is similar to Person A’s goal when the circumstances are far different. And Person A’s potholes may feel to them deeply challenging and Person A may keep falling in them, taking a long time to get out. Person B may have had better training to navigate 6” rims. They might feel a level of mastery about their cliff that gives them some innate ability to navigate the rim.

The outward appearance of success is a limited viewpoint. It actually doesn’t tell the viewer anything, but do we ever make a lot of assumptions about success based on outward appearances.

Often success has to do with luck.

People hate admitting that. But where you born, who you were born to and your life’s path have an awful lot to do with your success. What challenges you were faced with, what conclusions you drew from those experiences determine so much of what you view as motivation and success.

Again, I encourage you to think about your mindset. What is success? What are my goals? Why are those my goals? Why do I think those goals are important? Is it true? Are they important? What do I really want? Why do I want that? What am I wiling to change to get it? What am I unwilling to change? Do those factors fit together?

Give yourself time to get some answers. Write out the questions on a piece of paper, and let your intuition answer. Take deep breaths. Put pen to paper and see what comes. Write “I don’t know” 50 times if you have to. Then wait. Don’t fight it. Your answers might surprise you if you allow your heart to speak to you.

Motivation feels different when we’re in alignment with our heart. You may already have great success but it’s limited by your viewpoint of success. What if you were already successful but just hadn’t achieved the goal yet? What if you changed your measurement of success? Would it change your level of motivation?

www.culvercitysymphony.org

3 Comments

  1. That’s a lot of food for thought ( lol)
    I enjoyed your piece it was a good read
    I needed some time for my thoughts
    I need to find me
    You have given me so much and for that I will
    Always be grateful
    Moms husband passed last week so things
    Are a little hectic but all will work out
    I leave you with love and a thankful heart

  2. Thank you, Amy! This is perfect timing for me. I’ve been “off track” for several weeks now, and I’ve committed to get back “on track” now. These reminders are always so helpful. Miss you.

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