The one common component in every great success story is motivation: an ever-elusive elixir that allows people to overcome challenges, work around roadblocks and find the drive to persist in the face of every adversity. Motivation is the rocket fuel of success. Those who possess it will always travel farther than those who don't.
For centuries, people have searched for, longed for and chased what they believed was the source of motivation. They're constantly looking for that magic pill, that sage advice or just the kick in the backside that would light a spark and propel them to success. Entire industries have sprung up to fulfill people's insatiable desire to feel motivated. Billions are spent on self-help books and countless people willfully invest thousands of dollars to sit at the feet of the motivational gurus hoping to learn the secret of how, once and for all, they can get out of their own way and tap into the magical force of motivation. Yet time and again, they come up short. Sure, they feel inspired for a while but, inevitably, they slide right back to who they have always been. It just doesn't seem to stick.
The challenge is that motivation cannot be externally applied like hand lotion. tI is not something that comes from a bottle, a speech given in a meeting or from conquering some challenging activity. Motivation, sustained motivation, can only be found from one source, it can only be found within you. The good news is, self-motivation is not something that is given to some and not to others. Everyone has the ability to tap into their internal motivational driver and use it to move their life in the direction they desire. Since this capability exists within us all, the million-dollar question becomes - - how do you tap into it? How do you find within yourself a virtual, boundless well of self-motivation?
In 2002, the movie 8 Mile was released. It detailed the evolution a young Marshall Mathers, from growing up in a poor Detroit neighborhood to selling more than 170 million rap albums. Eminem faced a tumultuous journey to incredible success, one fraught with setbacks and obstacles. It was a journey that started with one simple question, "What is it that I really want to accomplish?"
In 1995, a 24-year-old Stanford Ph.D. student concluded that three evolving technologies would shape the future of humankind: the internet, energy and space. He dropped out of school and launched his first business venture, beginning a journey that would ultimately lead him to build a net worth of more than $19 billion. That man was Elon Musk. One simple question started it all: "What is it that I want to accomplish?" Motivation always starts with one simple decision. What is it that you truly want to accomplish? Your answer doesn't have to be grandiose. You don't have to set out to change the world, cure cancer or discover some incredible technology. Just pick something - - anything - - and truly commit to making it happen.
In the early phases, success is ugly. It's messy and looks random and unkempt. Success takes time and polishing. It is refined and beautified with time and practice. Thomas Edison, the most prolific inventor of all time said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Be patient and embrace this ugly phase. With time, reflection and refinement, the seemingly unorganized chaos begins to take shape, and the pathway to success becomes clearer.
Most great accomplishments seem impossible on day one. Let's face it, if something seems impossible, what's the point of even trying? So, hold on to your dream and focus on conquering the small steps that are immediately in front of you. Celebrate once you've made that step. Take pride in your forward progress, and relish in the fact that you're one small step closer. Each of these steps accumulates until you are miles ahead of where you started.
Alone, we are weak and easily defeated. Setbacks and negative thinking can quickly take root and steal away our motivation. Selectively sharing our ambitions with supportive people makes a huge difference. When no one is around to say anything about our lack of progress, it's easy to fall victim to procrastination and the distractions of life. Conversely, having someone there to congratulate us on our progress or kick us in the pants when we are dragging our feet keeps us focused and motivated. Surround yourself with a motivational mastermind group.
Rarely does one person possess all the wisdom and insights required to succeed. While they certainly can learn, there is a shortcut to this process. In the early 1900s, author Napoleon Hill wrote about the value of bringing together people from varying backgrounds and experiences to collectively focus on coming up with ideas and solutions. He coined this a "master mind alliance."
Notable achievers such as Benjamin Franklin, ThomasEdison and Andrew Carnegie all surrounded themselves with a small group of people who helped them to vet problems and see new perspectives. If this strategy can work for these luminaries, it certainly can work for us. Oprah Winfrey said, "Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher." Within you, and in each of us, exists everything necessary to succeed. The passion, the purpose, the motivation and the drive required to build a meaningful life, it's all there, waiting for you to tap into it. You may not have always seen or felt this, however, that doesn't mean it's not there.
There is one crossroad you will come upon every day. It's a subtle intersection point that, unless you are aware enough, you might miss, walking right by and not even noticing it's there. Yet this one point, this one transition, will profoundly shape the life you'll lead: Will you succeed or suffer? Will you endeavor or simply exist?
There are two things that separate us from virtually everything else on the planet. The first is opposable thumbs (a trait we share with a handful of primates, koala bears and some South American tree frogs). However, it's the second trait that truly makes us uniquely human. It is our ability to take in, process information and make conscious choices based upon it.
What if the one thing you avoided most, something you dreaded and feared, was the most important part of succeeding? Most people hate the very idea of failure.They loathe thinking of themselves as coming up short, missing the mark and not succeeding. For many, just the possibility of failure is enough to convince themselves that it is not even worth trying. Isn't always better to set the bar low, keepexpectations in check and minimize the risk?
What if I do this and it doesn't turn out right? What if I screw this up? What if I mess up this sales call? What if I forget what I'm going to say in this big presentation? What if I embrace this new strategy and it doesn't work?
People aren't born to fail. Both science and our own experience has proven this to be true. At the time each of us came into the world, we were born with everything that we would need to build an incredible life for ourselves. It was handed to us, gifted to us innately, woven into our DNA.
What is it that makes someone great? Is it some innate ability? Some unique skill set that they were gifted with? Is greatness something that is bestowed upon some but not others? Is the ability to be great at something, at anything, woven into the DNA of a select few?
The truth liberates, it empowers and propels us forward. Yet in modern day society, finding the truth is nowhere near as easy as seeing the rising of the sun and the moon. However, the lies that put limits on people and their potential are as abundantly available as the air that we breathe.
When you take the time to consider all of the common phrases that exist in the English language containing a reference to the work "luck", it is little wonder that so many people possess such an overriding belief in its mystical powers. In fact, most of us would be hard pressed to go through the day without someone making reference to the word, luck. Each time we hear it, we nod our head and subconsciously buy-in to the all fire trap of thinking that success and luck go hand-in-hand.
There are certain fundamental truths that regardless of circumstance seem to stand the test of time. One of these is the fact that victims never win.