If you’re a follower of this blog then you may have read the original success cycle article ‘The Success Cycle and Staying Motivated” that was a pretty big hit on our facebook page.
As this seemed a popular topic with our readers we’ve done a load more research and reading up on success and human motivation, so we feel we should share a more in depth article on this subject with you.
Here’s a little recap on what the success cycle is:
You have a goal – you take action – you get results – you feel good – you take more action.
Firstly, in order for the success cycle to work you need to know who you are, what you’re suited to, what kind of work feels rewarding to you and what motivates you. Otherwise you will take action towards your goal, and even if you make progress towards it, if you aren’t experiencing positive feelings then you’re likely to lose motivation, take less action and the success cycle breaks down.
“You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself. You keep pushing because you believe in yourself and in your vision. And you know that it is the right thing to do and success will come.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger.
What motivates you?
Different people are motivated by different things. If you’re primarily motivated by financial rewards, fame, praise and tangible results then you’re extrinsically motivated.
Intrinsic motivation is where you’re driven to perform a behaviour because of an internal drive, by achieving your goal you will feel a sense of satisfaction and pride.
So which are you? The chances are you’re both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated to some degree because everyone needs money, enjoys praise and recognition for their work.
However research has shown that extrinsic motivation only gets you so far and that after a certain level of reward you’re behaviour is unlikely to change.
Those that seem to truly excel and become incredibly successful don’t do what they do because of the money or fame, they do it because they believe it’s a calling and they feel a deep level of satisfaction from excelling and loving the process.
Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs
For anyone who has studied psychology or business management, you’ll be pretty familiar with Abraham Maslow. Maslow was a psychologist who created a ‘pyramid of needs’, stating that you need to fulfil each lower need before you can move up the pyramid to eventually achieve self-actualisation.
What does the hierarchy mean?
Well, if you have a goal to become successful at something you’ll probably struggle unless you take care of your lower level needs such as physiological and safety.
How can you focus on a task if you’re hungry, cold, without a secure place to live?
Sometimes if you’re striving to achieve a goal or become successful at something and struggling, you can often find you’re lacking in some areas of the hierarchy.
If you’re struggling to pay your bills, can’t afford to buy the right type of food, buy yourself clothes or see your friends then you’re likely to be stressed and unhappy.
If you’re always firefighting, trying to survive and focusing on short term problems and drama in your life, how are you supposed to focus on the behaviours and steps you need to take to achieve an important goal in life?
The hierarchy of needs makes so much sense. Let’s say for example that you want to start a new business, or you want to lose weight and become fit enough to run a marathon.
Both of these goals require dedication and focus!
If your finances are good, you can afford a home with the right food, your bills are paid, you have friends and family who love you, then you’re not in survival mode. You’re not worried about short term survival and can focus on going after what you want in life.
One of the main reasons people get trapped in a cycle of poverty is because they are struggling to meet their basic physiological needs and unable to rise up to go after bigger goals that could change their lives.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.” ~ Albert Einstein
Now that we’ve looked at the basics of human motivation and meeting your basic needs, we need to look at who you are as a person and what motivates you. What’s your personality type? You can take your Myers Briggs personality type test here.
Your personality type will play a big part in the type of goal you’re likely to go after and your chances of succeeding. You’re far more likely to make progress towards your goal if you’re playing to your strengths, so it’s important you know what you’re good at and what type of work you can sustain.
Many people set out to achieve a big goal only to find they’re chasing the wrong dream because they’re not good at what they are doing. If you aren’t good at the thing you’re doing everyday you’re going to constantly have negative feelings.
The success cycle requires you to experience positive feelings after achieving goals to help motivate you to take more action and continue the success cycle.
So be careful what goal you’re striving for, understand yourself and play to your strengths!
Lastly let’s take a look at your learning style.
This is incredibly important for your success and often overlooked by us as students and teachers. If you struggled to grasp a topic whether it be at school or in your job, it may have nothing to do with your intelligence and potential, but how you learn and process information.
If you’re a deductive learner then you need to understand the big picture, the rules and how the system works before you can understand the specific functions and smaller parts.
If you’re an inductive learner you learn by looking at examples, seeing how they fit into the overall picture, learning the rules as you go along step by step.
If you don’t understand how you best learn, then it can be incredibly stressful and demotivating trying to grasp a task and wondering why you find it so hard. This difficulty often leads people, especially students to think they are not intelligent enough or that the subject isn’t for them.
Imagine what you could achieve or become if you faced a problem but knew the best way for you to conquer it?
This is an important part of the success cycle because it helps you overcome struggles and adversity, and once you understand your learning style you can apply the technique to any problem in career or life!
No matter what our situation or path in life, we’re going to experience problems. If your goal is to achieve something worthwhile in life, you need to get yourself in a position that you’re having the right kind of problems.
We know we need to get ourselves into a position where we aren’t focused on short term survival needs and into a position of relevant comfort so we can focus on the important tasks.
It’s from this position that you give yourself the best chance of success.
From here you can focus on achieving bigger goals, and once you understand you need to celebrate and recognise small wins to give you that positivity and confidence to push forward, and understand yourself, you can make the success cycle work for you!