A quote commonly attributed to American automobile tycoon Henry Ford is that “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” This fun little quote reminds us of the reality that how we approach our goals is key to not only whether or not we achieve them, but what that achievement means to us.
Where does Motivation Come From?
There’s a theory in psychology and education that holds that motivation exists on a scale from intrinsic to extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation means that we want something for ourselves. This is often the source of our hobbies or projects. These are things that we do because they somehow enrich our lives.
On the other end of the scale is Extrinsic motivation, which is when we don’t really want to do something but someone else is making us. For many of us, this end is closer to where we are when we are at our jobs. Our degree of passion for our job may vary, but the real motivation for most of us to keep doing it is the money that we make.
Obviously, extrinsic motivation can get a job done, but it isn’t often very rewarding, so we tend to work harder and get more out of tasks that we are genuinely interested in – tasks that we are intrinsically motivated to do.
Related: What is a Flexible Mindset?
Balancing Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation
This theory of motivation seldom suggests that we are at one extreme or the other. When we do most things, we are both extrinsically motivated to do it to some degree as well as intrinsically motivated to some degree.
If we didn’t have any extrinsic motivation to go to work, most of us probably wouldn’t. Also, while our work takes lots of time and energy, we probably wouldn’t do it if we didn’t have any intrinsic motivation either.
This balance of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation can also be helpful in terms of goals that we set for ourselves, largely because our moods can change. One day we may set a goal for ourselves when we feel particularly intrinsically motivated but a few days later we don’t feel so motivated anymore. In cases like these it is good for us to have some kind of extrinsic motivation as well.
This isn’t likely to be someone paying us, like it is with our work, though some people do find that setting up a reward system can help them to keep on track. For others, having a friend, family member, or group with similar goals can help for us to stay on track, as these people can help to encourage us to pursue our goals even on fays when we don’t particularly feel like it. Both of these are kinds of mild extrinsic motivation.
Is Motivation so Important?
In 2008 academic Malcolm Gladwell popularized the 10,000 hours rule, stating that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. The concept began running into flack in 2013 when writer David Epstein wrote that genes play a more significant role than practice. This has led many to abandon the 10,000 hours rule, which is unfortunate. Gladwell responded in an article in The New Yorker that the 10,000 hours rule is meant to apply to cognitive skills rather than strictly athletic skills.
Whether you agree with Gladwell or Epstein, few would disagree that it takes time and effort to develop a new skill. Perhaps fewer would disagree that putting in that time can be hard. Knowing how to keep your eye on the ball when we lose our sense of motivation can be very important to achieving a goal. Things like losing weight and building muscle, learning a new language, or learning an instrument take time and it is best if we do them every day.
The Winning Mindset 101
Having the right mindset going into anything you aspire to achieve is easily one of the biggest determining factors regarding success or failure. You can formulate a great plan, outline every step of the process, and be filled to the brim with motivation but if your mental game doesn’t remain strong, you are fighting an uphill battle.
A winning mindset is not a matter of being born with it or not. Sure, they are people who are naturally mentally stronger than others. However, the experiences and obstacles you face in life and, more importantly, how you respond to them, are the true building blocks for developing a winning mindset.
In this article, we are going to highlight several effective strategies that will allow you to develop and maintain a strong will and the mental fortitude to handle the highs and lows that are inevitable in your pursuit of success.
1| Plan For The Best, Prepare Just In Case
Remaining generally optimistic is an important ingredient of a winning mindset. People who constantly look for the worst in every situation or go into every obstacle expecting to fail, probably will. Imagining victory and a positive outcome before you even get there can be a useful tool.
However, you should never be so optimistic, so confident that things will go perfect that you fail to plan for a less than favorable outcome. Planning for the worst is not inherently pessimistic. It is simply having a plan in place to win another way if your ideal plan or outcome falls through.
2| Maintain A Strong “Why”
Accomplishing anything that is truly worthwhile is sure to be a tumultuous journey. After all, great things are only great because few people will ever do them. If they were easy, tons of people would accomplish them, making them nothing but ordinary.
That being said, if you cannot maintain a strong will to win when things get hard, you stand little chance of ever conquering your big goals. Falling flat on your face and mustering the will to dust yourself off and keep moving forward is something you will most likely experience not once, but repeatedly on your way to success.
Remembering your deeply rooted purpose, your “why,” is one of the most powerful forms of motivation when obstacles arise. Furthermore, your reasoning behind even wanting to accomplish the thing needs to be something you are deeply convicted about. If you are compelled by an overwhelmingly strong purpose, no amount of difficulty or discomfort can keep you from getting to the finish line.
3| Consistency Over Intensity
Often times, we will see people set dazzling goals for themselves and be chomping at the bits to start chasing these goals. They will charge full speed ahead and allow everything else in their lives to fall to the wayside in pursuit of whatever it is. This phenomenon usually goes on for a short period of time before they inevitably run out of gas and quit altogether.
As we have already discussed, big achievements lie at the end of long and difficult roads. They are not reached with a herculean amount of effort exerted over a short period of time. That is why being consistent in your approach is far more important than intensity.
A winning mindset is one that realizes great things take time, accepts that and then develops a plan that are willing to devote themselves to for long periods of time. Are you going to have to having to go harder at some points in the process than others? Of course, but these moments of high intensity must be calculated and not fueled by beginner’s enthusiasm alone.
Secrets To A Winning Mindset
We’ve all heard about the various benefits to a good mindset. One that builds us up instead of tearing us down, one that cheers us on and make us work even harder to achieve our goals, one that allows us to throw off any negativity and move forward! However, a winning mindset, especially whenever we’ve had a loser mindset for so long, can be extremely hard to get.
However, there are a few secrets to getting a winning mindset that will help you change everything in your life. It just takes some commitment and then you will turn your mindset from a losing mindset into a winning mindset!
1| First, Set Some Goals
One of the best ways to get a winning mindset is to have some goals for yourself. You won’t be able to build a winning mindset without first having some goals to start working towards. Make a list of some goals, and these goals need to be actionable. A goal stating: ‘I want to make one million dollars’ won’t cut it. However, a goal saying, ‘I want to make 5,000 dollars in three months’ is much better.
Once you have a smaller goal, you can focus on the actionable steps that will get you to that goal and then will start to trust yourself as you take those steps that will make you feel better about your life. This is the first step to help you create a winning mindset.
2| Surround Yourself With Winners
There’s an old saying that ‘we are the average of the 5 people we hang out with’ and one of the best ways to get your mindset to become that of a winner is to surround yourself with other winners. Whether they are people you know personally or people you listen to or who’s content you consume, you need to start thinking like a winner.
Those people will have habits, mindsets, and rituals that have all been influential to their success and where they have gotten in life. If you can focus on learning from the winners around you, and understanding their mindsets, it will be harder and harder to avoid staying in your loser mindset. You’ll have to change to keep up with them and will also want to change because you admire them.
3| Recognize Your Small Wins
In order to have a winning mindset, you need to focus on your smaller wins that you are making every single day. We tend to focus on the one day a week we didn’t focus on our goals, instead of looking back at all the small victories we have achieved by working on our goals for the rest of the week.
The mind is a garden, and if you focus on positive thoughts and the small wins you have in your life, you will cultivate and develop a strong positive midnset. That’s the best way to develop a winning mindset, and it will make you feel better about yourself and your life.
What we focus on is what we tend to feel, so making sure that you are having positive thoughts will help you feel more positive in your day-to-day life.
4| It Takes Time
Finally, recognize that building a winning mindset takes a lot of time. It also takes deep and consistent work, but once you build a winning mindset you will find that it will work with you instead of against you.
Make sure to put in the time and effort to surround yourself with like-minded people who yearn to win and set good actionable goals, and you will have a winning mindset and all of its advantages in no time!
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