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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

What Motivates You to Succeed in Life and Keep Moving Forward?

What Motivates You to Succeed in Life and Keep Moving Forward?

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 nearly 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.

What Is Motivation?

At its core, motivation is the reason why you act or behave in a certain way. It’s 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. It’s important to point out that motivation looks different for everyone, depending on their needs and values. Moreover, levels of motivation can change in 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.

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

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Successful people create a vision and know what their purpose is, 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.”

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 (and it will), motivation is the fuel that will allow you to pick yourself up 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.

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.

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 Motivation Do You Need?

Have you ever thought about what the driving force behind your motivation is? To answer this question, you can look at the push vs. pull theory. 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, it will naturally 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. What will motivate you at work may be different from what motivates you at home.

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

Living With 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[6].

What Motivates You? Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation

    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

    Committing to Self-Mastery

    Some people devote their entire life to self-mastery and the sense of accomplishment it brings. 

    Self-mastery is a process of becoming. It’s not an end goal. Rather, it’s a life path motivated by the opportunity to be your best self.

    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.

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    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.

    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[7].

    How to Find More Motivation 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

    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?” You may find that a great answer is waiting for you.

    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.

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    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[8].

    Find someone who has goals similar to you. Together, create a plan of attack so that each of you is inspiring the other to commit to specific 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.

    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.[9].

    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.

    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.

    Research shows that early risers are more successful, more proactive, better planners, and better at anticipating problems[10].

    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.

    More Motivational Tips

    Featured photo credit: Kevin Schmid via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Ashley Elizabeth

    Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

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    Last Updated on January 15, 2021

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

    Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

    Posture

    First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

    • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
    • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
    • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
    • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

    All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

    Facial Expressions

    Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

    • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
    • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
    • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

    If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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    1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

    A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

    The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

    This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

    2. Relax Your Face

    New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

    The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

    To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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    3. Improve Your Eye Contact

    Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

    The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

    To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

    3. Smile More

    There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

    Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

    4. Hand Gestures

    Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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    It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

    5. Enhance Your Handshake

    In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

    “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

    It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

    6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

    As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

    Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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    Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

    Final Takeaways

    Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

    If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

    More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

    Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

    Reference

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