“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Estee Lauder
We all like this word; we all use this word; and it’s pleasant to hear and read.
Did you also know that it’s one of the most googled words?
But what does it mean?
Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, and it can also be considered the attainment of fame or wealth.
We all want to accomplish our goals, we all want to attain wealth and many of us dream of attaining fame. But what keeps us from it? What blocks our path to success? And most importantly, what is the secret key to success?
The Big Mistakes
“I definitely would never go back to my 20s. The best is yet to come.”- Celine Dion
Sometimes it happens that, after months or years of efforts and work, we give up- just because we can’t see results.
We feel discouraged, because we compare our present to our past and we make the common mistake of believing that we cannot achieve the same success that we previously achieved, maybe because then we were younger, smarter, or luckier. Not only is this a common mistake, but also a colossal and naive one.
Now, after years of work and achievements, we have more experience, and as a result, more tools to help us to successfully reach our goals. Because of this, thinking that the best has come already is a limiting belief, something we are convinced of that hampers our ability to seize opportunities to succeed again and again in life.
Another very common mistake is deciding to give up when success is right around the corner, because we are exhausted. In doing so, we lose all we were about to achieve. It’s like digging a hole for hours to find treasure, and giving up just two or three inches before reaching it, because we are impatient and believed we would not find it there.
Remember that real success takes time, and sometimes it includes feelings of failure as well.
This is why I want you to understand that the key to success is tenacity, because you can accomplish whatever you want, if you are committed to your goal.Advertising
“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan
If you believe that the best things in your life are in your past, and that happiness and success will never come back, you are sabotaging your present and unavoidably your future.
You have to be careful with this kind of mental behavior because it may prevent you from succeeding in many areas of your life, such as relationships and career- and it may be the cause of low self-esteem and poor life satisfaction.
Never give up just because you don’t see any immediate results; if you make this mistake, you will regret it in the future.
What Can I Do?
Some Practical Tips
To prevent such a mechanism impairing your life, you must convince yourself that the best has yet to come and that you can still accomplish a lot in your life.
In other words, in order to stop these self-sabotaging thought patterns, you have to follow some very simple steps.
First of all, what you need to do is take a piece of paper and divide it into two parts. Second, write down the negative beliefs that you think are obstructing your success in the first section.
Then, in the other section, identify the things that you want and can achieve- the things that would make you the happiest person on earth.
Then, use the power of the dreams that you want to realize, to prove to yourself that your limiting beliefs are affecting your life, and start working hard to reach your goals.
Believe that the best has yet to come, learn to be patient, and succeeding will be easier.
This way you will feel more satisfied, and the most interesting thing is that you will find yourself working even harder for your success.Advertising
“Man learns through experience, and the spiritual path is full of different kinds of experiences. He will encounter many difficulties and obstacles, and they are the very experiences he needs to encourage and complete the cleansing process.” – Sai Baba
Successful People You Should Emulate
“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.” – Louis Pasteur
Did you know that a man called Henry Ford failed five times before founding Ford Motor Company? Yes, you read correctly, he failed five times, but he was determined and believed that he could succeed, so he tried again.
Have you ever heard of an engineer who had an unsuccessful job interview with Toyota, and started his own business? His name was Soichiro Honda, and he was the creator of the billion-dollar business, Honda.
Did you know that before he became famous, Walt Disney was working for a newspaper and lost his job because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”?
Also, many years ago, a secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it. The person who was trying to sell this recipe was Colonel Sanders, the creator of KFC.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney
What do those people have in common?
Well, the answer is very simple: they didn’t let anything discourage them, and they persisted in what they were doing.
They knew pretty well what the key to success was. They knew that real success needs time, and sacrifice, and it doesn’t come overnight.
Those people kept believing that the best was yet to come.
“I’m excited about what the future will bring and I think the best is yet to come.” – Alonzo Mourning
Image: Anthony QuintanoAdvertising
Featured photo credit: Paul Bica via flickr.com
Last Updated on July 17, 2019
The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)
What happens in our heads when we set goals?
Apparently a lot more than you’d think.
Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.
According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.
Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.
Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.
Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams
The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.
Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.
So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.
Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.
One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.
Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.
Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.
The Neurology of Ownership
Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.
In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs!
But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.
This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).
Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.
The Upshot for Goal-Setters
So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?
On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.
It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.
On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!
But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!
More About Goals Setting
- How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully
- How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life
- How Setting Personal Goals Makes You a Greater Achiever
Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com
|||^||I Done This Blog: Your Brain on Dopamine: The Science of Motivation|
|||^||Journal of Political Economy: Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem|