Motivation is at the Core of Success

(So how do you get more of it?)

If I asked you to create a list of traits and skills that make people successful, I’m sure you could name quite a few.

On the list might be things like effective communication, self-awareness, time management, or the ability to network effectively, build trust, and maintain good relationships.

And you wouldn’t be incorrect.

These traits and skills are important.

I’d like to propose that at the very core of success is the motivation to go after it in the first place. At the core of obtaining any of the skills above is first to have the motivation to foster the skill in your life.

What do I mean by this? I’ll give you an example.

Numerous times I’ve heard people say to me, “I’m sure your book is good, but I’m not really a reader.”

Being “not a reader” is not an absolute truth in their lives. It is not a disease they have unfortunately contracted — though some people may act like it is.

“Not being a reader” is a choice people consciously make based in a lack of motivation.

What people are really saying in this scenario is, “I don’t want to read your book because I’m not motivated enough to do so.” (Don’t worry, I’m not offending these people — they aren’t reading this).

Please keep in mind a lack of motivation in this or any example doesn’t necessarily mean “lazy” or “bad.” A lack of motivation is not inherently bad. I have no motivation to start smoking cigarettes, and I think that’s just fine.

In the example above, the lack of motivation could stem from a lot of places — they might think I wrote a terrible book, they might have higher priority items on their list, they might not believe in the value of reading for leisure. No matter the case, there isn’t enough motivation for them to pick up the book.

I use the book example to tell you this:

People can choose to do just about anything if they are motivated enough to do so.

The issue is we, as humans, tend to convince ourselves we can’t, or won’t, or shouldn’t, and we lose motivation in areas we probably should keep it.

To stick with the reading example, I’d argue there are scenarios in which these people would be extremely motivated to read.

Here’s one example:

I’m guessing if someone said, “Hey, you’re going to die in three weeks. We know the cure for your illness is somewhere in this book, but we don’t have time to read it.”


So how do we become more motivated? How do we push ourselves to do the good, positive, meaningful things we know we should do in our lives?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Be conscious
    Quite often, we float through a day or a week or a month without putting much conscious thought into not only what we’re doing but how we should be doing it. We as humans are all guilty of this from time-to-time. One way to become more motivated is to wake up from this day-to-day grind and become mindfully aware of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. Unless we obtain high levels of self-awareness, it will be hard to stay motivated over time.
  2. Find your why
    When you’ve begun the process of tuning in instead of tuning out, you then need to establish not only what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it. When you find your why, you give yourself more reason to continue when the road gets rough.
  3. Share your goals
    Experts go back and forth on this one, but I believe having a small group of motivated people to hold you accountable works wonders for motivation. Having a workout partner, joining a book club, or getting involved in a Bible study are all examples of areas others can hold us accountable and keep us motivated.

We can decide what we value. If we value the skills that lead us to a successful future, we will have the motivation to pursue and foster them. If we value meaningless conversations about the latest Netflix show, we will be motivated to watch said show and continue the meaningless discussions.

The choice is yours. Motivation is at the core of success in your life.

How do you stay motivated in the proper areas? I’d love to know — please share in the comments.


About kwillkom

Founder, keynote speaker, author at Action Packed Leadership. I'm on a mission to help young people become the best version of themselves.

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