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Published on January 9, 2020

What Motivates You to Succeed in Life?

What Motivates You to Succeed in Life?

What motivates you to succeed in life?

If you’re sitting there, perplexed, keep reading.

Let’s face it… we’ve all had moments in life when our motivation has been at an all-time low. Even the most motivated of people can feel unmotivated now and then.

However, if you allow laziness to creep into your daily life, it will be near impossible to achieve anything in life.

The difference between successful people versus everyone else is that no matter what is going on around them, successful people always find the motivation and drive to keep going.

If motivation is so important, then why do so many people struggle with it, especially after they encounter defeat?

Here’s the stone-cold truth:

If you’re lacking in motivation right now, to the point that it is keeping you stuck in life, the only person standing in your way is you.

Motivation Defined

At its core, motivation is the reason why you act or behave in a certain way. It is the driving force that pushes you to take action, in spite of your fear or lack thereof.

Psychologists define motivation as the process by which activities are started, directed, and sustained so that certain needs are met.[1]

These needs can be either psychological or physical in form. It’s important to point out that motivation looks different for everyone, depending on their needs and values. Moreover, levels of motivation can change at different phases of your life.

Why Is Motivation Important?

According to the research of Dr. Anders Ericsson, motivation is the most significant predictor of success.[2] It is the secret sauce that allows you to create your destiny.

By understanding why motivation is so important for success in life, you will feel more empowered to take action.

1. Gives You a Sense of Direction

If you aimlessly move through life with no direction, you won’t feel motivated to do much of anything. This is why it is so important that you have a clear understanding of what you want and why you want it.

If you don’t know why you should do something, the likelihood of you actually taking action will be minimal.

Successful people create a vision for their lives, and their daily actions are constantly moving them one step closer to aligning with that vision.

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In short, they know what their purpose, which ensures that they are pulled towards the achievement of their goals instead of pushed. As a result, motivation becomes effortless.

In the words of Margie Warrell, Author of Brave,

“Knowing your ‘why’ is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you enjoy living. Indeed, only when you know your ‘why’ will you find the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, stay motivated when the chips are down, and move your life onto an entirely new, more challenging and more rewarding trajectory.”

2. Transforms Fear Into A Powerful Plan of Action

Fear is the #1 factor that prevents people from taking action in life, whether that’s fear of failure, fear of success, or fear of not being good enough.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that fear is something that is created in the mind. Hence, it’s an illusion. When you flex your motivation muscle, it slaps fear right in the face. It’s a way of saying, “I’m going to feel the fear and do it anyway.”

A motivated person is so focused on achieving goals that they are able to see past their fears. They know that the only way to truly succeed is to do the thing you are most afraid of doing.

You can either let fear prevent you from moving towards your goals, or you can use it as a tool for motivation.[3] It’s your choice.

3. Helps You Bounce Forward From Setbacks

When life knocks you down (which it will), motivation is the fuel that will allow you to pick yourself up off the floor and keep going.

When life tries to convince you that the game is over, motivation will be in your corner, cheering you on and reminding you to not give up.

I have yet to meet one successful person who hasn’t encountered massive setbacks on the road to achieving their goals in life. I hate to break it to you, but there is no such thing as an easy path.

Life is a rollercoaster ride. You can either scream your way through the whole thing or strap yourself in and enjoy the ride. When you encounter a low moment, take it as an opportunity to unleash your inner strength.

Setbacks are designed to show you how strong and courageous you really are. If you need inspiration, remember why you started your journey in the first place.

A great exercise to help you remember why enduring through the tough times is worth the effort is to visualize what life would be like five years from now if you aborted your mission.[4] That will be motivation in and of itself to keep going.

What Kind of Motivator Are You?

Have you ever thought about what the driving force behind your motivation is? The push vs. pull theory answers this burning question. Your motivation to do anything comes in two different forms – push or pull.

Push motivation is driven by a need to run from unwanted reality, while Pull motivation is a power that inspires you to attain successful results.[5]

When you push yourself to do something, naturally it will feel like you’re dragging yourself through life. You can only operate in this mode for so long before you run out of fuel.

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This is why you need to access Pull motivation, which emerges from an intrinsic desire to do something that you love.

As you can probably predict, Pull motivation is what you want to strive towards. It is the product of taking action with the intention of bringing yourself one step closer to your desired destination.

What Can Motivate You To Succeed

Motivation is subjective, meaning that different people will be motivated by different things, depending on what their goals and values are.

Let’s explore a few common factors that motivate people to succeed.

1. Living on Purpose

I am a firm believer that lasting motivation is driven, in large part, by your purpose. When you find what it is that makes you come alive inside, motivation becomes a walk in the park.

This is otherwise referred to as internal motivation, meaning that your behavior is driven by internal rewards. Hence, you do something because it feels good for you, regardless of what other people think.

If you have yet to find your purpose, don’t stop looking because it’s looking for you too.

Check out this article and find out how to find your purpose to get motivated: How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

2. Committing to Self-Mastery

Some people devote their entire life to self-mastery. Their motivation to continuously evolve and grow trumps everything else.

Self-mastery is a process of becoming. It’s not an end goal. Rather, it’s a life path.

In his book, Toward A Psychology of Being, Abraham Maslow talks about a powerful force within the human condition, which is a drive for growth. This force propels people forward towards wholeness of Self.

Growth always requires some level of risk because it asks that you step outside of your comfort zone.

I know how scary this can be, but I promise that you will never fail when you commit to self-mastery. When you master your mind, you master every area of your life.

3. Giving Back

Some people are motivated to give back to the world and help others. They have an innate desire to create an impact in the world.

As someone who helps people for a living, I can honestly say that there is nothing more rewarding than helping people achieve their fullest potential in life. As Winston Churchill once stated,

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Research has shown that giving makes us far happier than receiving. Thus, in a way, we are actually being both selfish and selfless by giving to others.[6]

I have found that, when you give to others, without expectation of anything in return, others will give to you.

Tips For Getting Motivated To Succeed In Life

Now that you know what motivates people to achieve success in life, it’s time to identify what drives YOU.

1. Get Clear on Your Why

In my experience, nothing gives you a sense of wholeness more than knowing what your gifts are and then sharing them with the world.

Some people are crystal clear about what their purpose is early on in life, while others take more time to define what that looks like. Where people get stuck is that they tirelessly search for their purpose in life and when they don’t find it, they get discouraged and give up.

You’ve got to understand that your purpose isn’t something that you find. Rather, it finds you. Ask yourself, “What is it that I love to do?”

Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team explains,

“Once you understand your ‘WHY’, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best.”

Once you are clear on your ‘why’, you need to take massive action. Do things that make you come alive inside, try, fail, try again, and see what sticks.

By committing to a purposeful life, everything will feel more effortless.

2. Find an Accountability Partner

An accountability partner is someone who keeps you on track so that you don’t lose momentum. A big reason why so many people struggle to stay committed to their goals is that they aren’t accountable to anyone other than themselves.

It’s one thing to let yourself down. However, when you know that someone is counting on you to follow through, you are naturally more motivated to not let them down.

Research found that people are 65 percent more likely to meet a goal after committing to another person. Their chances of success increase to 95% when they build in on-going meetings with their partners to check-in on their progress.[7]

Find someone who has goals similar to you. Together, create a plan of attack so that each of you is inspiring one another to commit to your actions.

3. Celebrate Your Small Wins

Whenever you achieve a small win, make sure that you reward yourself with something meaningful.

At the time, small wins may not seem like a big deal. However, by celebrating your progress, you are giving yourself mini doses of motivation that will encourage you to keep going.

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When you accomplish something, the neurochemical, dopamine is released into the brain. As a result, you feel energized with feel-good emotions, which in turn, allows you to feel a sense of pride.[8]

Success is a journey. It’s not what you get, but who you become along the way that matters most.

Honor your process and trust that everything is unfolding in your favor.

4. Create an Empowering Morning Ritual

When you take time every morning to nourish your mind, body, and spirit, you set yourself up to win throughout the day.

I’m a big believer in the power of a morning ritual. How you start your day determines how you end your day.

When you commit to a morning ritual every single day, over time you start to build a massive amount of motivation. The reason why this happens is that you are doing the work to flex your mental muscle.

Over time, you will start to notice that your focus, energy, productivity levels, and self-esteem will improve.

Research shows that early risers are more successful, more proactive, better planners, and better at anticipating problems.[9]

Find habits that motivate YOU, whether that’s reading inspirational books, watching videos, reciting affirmations or working out.

Get into a routine and make it stick: The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

Final Thoughts

There is no better time than now to motivate yourself! Take massive action and start creating the life of your wildest dreams.

Zig Ziglar said it best,

“Motivation is like bathing, you have to do it every day. Without motivation, you will never have the drive to take action, and without action, you can never reach your goals and live your dreams.”

If you can master motivation, I promise that there will be nothing that will hold you back from success in life.

Setbacks will be disguised as comebacks. If you have moments of doubt along the way, don’t forget why you started in the first place.

The world is waiting for your gifts.

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More Motivational Tips

Featured photo credit: Kevin Schmid via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Ashley Elizabeth

Psychologist and Motivational Speaker

5 Simple Ways to Be Happy with Yourself Every Day What Is Resilience and Why Is It Important? 5 Steps to Bounce Back Fast When Life Knocks You Down How to Be More Self-Aware and Strive to Be a Better Person 13 Things You Can Do to Build Emotional Resilience

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

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