Everyone has dreams. However, only a few realise them. The question is why? The fact is that self-motivation allows us to control our own success. And there are key principles that enable us to be self-motivated.
Does hard work really pay off?
Some argue that entrepreneurs are born, not made. They say true entrepreneurs learn faster and have greater intuition than those who are not born that way. Such people also have a natural talent for business.
On the other hand, there are those who argue that natural talent is irrelevant. Researchers Ericsson, Krampe, and Tech-Romer believe that success is purely built on purposeful, thoughtful, and intense effort.
There is a study by David Hambrick and Elizabeth Meinz called “Limits on the Predictive Power of Domain-Specific Experience and Knowledge in Skilled Performance.” I believe this study hits the spot.
On the graph below, the vertical axis shows performance. The higher up on the axis, the better you perform. The horizontal axis shows your intelligence. The further to the right, the more intelligent you are. The red line indicates people who work hard, while the blue line indicates people who don’t put in the necessary effort.
The takeaways from this study are:
- Hard work beats talent when the talented don’t work hard.
- If the intelligent and unintelligent both work hard, there is not much difference in performance.
- In a career where only the best performers succeed, such as the Olympics, you need to have a lot of talent. However, in careers (such as business), talent is not as important.
Either way you look at it, hard work puts you right up there with the top performers. So while many people take the view that being successful is all about talent, they are often using this perspective as a defence mechanism to justify their mediocre level of success.
If you study successful people, it is clear that talent only plays a small role. Check out this great video of Will Smith talking about talent and hard work:
To me, it is an exciting prospect that someone with average intelligence can achieve a level of success similar to the smartest individuals. Hard work is the variable we can control. If you can motivate yourself to work hard, you can achieve great success. The question is, how do you stay motivated?
It starts with a dream
If you ask children what their dream lives look like, they will often express their hopes with passion and conviction. As you grow older, people often see their dream lives as fantasies that will never come true. The difference is that adults have the experience to know how tough reality can be. So they often put their dreams in the back of their minds.
Successful people, however, actively visualise their dreams. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a great advocate of having a vision. Have a look at this video of Arnold talking about the importance of having a goal:
Conor McGregor, an extremely successful UFC fighter, has recently been in the news because he is the first person ever to simultaneously win two titles in two weight divisions. It would be easy to think that a fighter’s thought process has no relevance to running a business, but you would be wrong.
Successful people from all different backgrounds share the principle of visualisation. Conor epitomises the power of visualisation in this video:
Dreaming about and visualising what you want allows you to see and feel what it would be like to achieve real success. Not only is visualising your goals a fantastic source of motivation but doing so also gives you purpose and direction in your life. Donald Trump is someone else who advises people to dream big.
If your vision is not compelling enough, you’ll never find the motivation to pursue it. If you’re keen to start a business in order to achieve your dream, I recommend you read my article, “The real truth behind finding a viable business idea.”
Make a solid plan
A vision might motivate you, but a plan maps out how you will get to your end goal. As Gary Vaynerchuk says, people love the feeling of being motivated, but few people do anything with that feeling. Having a plan ensures that your motivation is not short-lived. It gives you a clear direction to channel your energy.
When I first founded my business (www.zzaponline.com), my vision was to make ZZap the most valued cash-handling brand. I then wrote out a plan. Then I took the most successful company in our sector and analysed what made it the best. I ended up with a list of points such as great photography, professional website, unique products, excellent online presence, etc. These became my goals for my company.
I then examined how successful companies achieved these goals. For example, they achieved a good online presence through paid search, remarketing, and SEO. So those became my short-term goals. Finally, by searching the internet, reading books, and reaching out to any contacts I knew in the industry, I researched how I could accomplish my short-term goals.
Once I had made my plan, I was extremely motivated. I had a vision and I knew how to get there. All that was left was hard work. To know that hard work is the only thing between you and your dream is enlightening. You can believe with conviction that it is possible to achieve your vision. That is a powerful feeling.
Feed off others
“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
We are all influenced by others. People can influence you either positively or negatively. If you spend enough time with successful people, they will start to rub off on you.
Spending time with the right people is perhaps one of the most effective and easiest ways to motivate yourself. If all your friends are motivated, passionate, and hungry for success, your conversations and activities are going to gravitate toward those qualities. This is peer pressure done right!
The hard part is finding and keeping those special individuals in your social circle. For example, spending time with Alan Sugar on a regular basis might not be feasible.
Earlier generations had less opportunities to learn from the best in their fields. But with the internet, we now have access to countless videos and blogs from successful business leaders.
Watching a video might not be the same as spending time with an individual. But if you watch the videos often enough, you will be amazed at how the attitudes of those in them can still start to shape yours. Some YouTube channelers, such as Evan Carmichael, specialise in finding advice from successful people.
Some channels are purely geared toward motivation. And some hugely successful entrepreneurs, such as Gary Vaynerchuk, even record their whole day on camera! You can watch Gary Vaynerchuk every day here:
The internet has made it possible to literally wake up and go to bed watching and listening to the great business minds. This ability has never been possible before. Make use of it. Feed off the energy of influencers each and every day. Doing so is a hugely underrated tactic that will help the next generation of business leaders.
There are many things that trigger motivation in an individual. Visualise your dream, know what it takes to get there, and learn from the best people in your field. These tactics build a foundation for exceptional work ethic.
Some people are born with natural talent, but most of us are not. Hard work bridges that gap. You are in full control. You determine your own success.
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