Are you internally driven to succeed in this noisy world?
Updated: Jun 21
How do you push yourself to achieve success? Everyone talks about setting goals and focusing on results as the foundation of it all. However, what I have found is the difference between achieving success & giving in to noise is whether your locus of control is within you or is outside you. This is essentially the difference between external vs internal motivation.
Invariably if the stimulation is external in nature; motivation is there as long as the stimulus is in action; once removed, the motivation also goes away. By its very nature, it needs to be continuously fed. That is why if what drives you is an outside stimulus; it is much tougher to stay the course.
We often look at monetary rewards for motivation. They work to a point after which it becomes the new norm and the concept of diminishing marginal utility kicks in. So when an incentive is given, performance goes up and for it to stay up, you have to now give an even bigger incentive or to keep giving a continuous stream of some form of acknowledgement to get performance.
That is why, if you want long lasting success in your life & to keep winning; you need to ensure that the locus of control is within you. It will be your internal driving force that will keep you on course. This is what intrinsic motivation is about.
So how does one get such a simple premise? Think about it, how often do you do things from a point of fear? It could be the fear of losing your job or not having enough money or not growing in your career. Sometimes, it is about the fear of letting down your spouse/family or society or even your parents; an aspect I would really like to talk about, for it appears to affect many young people I speak with. This is where the importance of self-leadership comes into play.
I have seen this equally with people whose parents want them to have a ‘safe’ corporate career with a good name company as I have with second generation entrepreneurs & professionals. I see people in corporate dead end jobs only because they don’t want to let their parents down. Or then there are the ones who want to get into business to pursue a path different from their family business, often times in the new fields of technology but then don’t. The family business is generally in a traditional business with ‘tangible’ products being sold; wealth & name has been created in a field so different from what you want to pursue. They do not understand your ‘tech bug’; the newspapers they read & their peer group at the local club don’t help your cause at all.
Guess what happens then? You get pushed into doing things that are not resonating with you inside. You start working in an environment which is not aligned to your internal goals either because you don’t want to disappoint your family or society or don’t want to lose your inheritance or just want to avoid unpleasantness! But again think about what is happening within you? It starts eating away at you from inside. You try to latch on to external stimuli which will fulfil you; like more increments, more promotions, more funding or more parties but still something feels amiss inside. Well, that is what one means by intrinsic motivation that occurs from within you.
Imagine if the feeling is positive instead of a fear within or a temporary external reward. If you start listening to that voice which says I want to do something else and that doesn’t necessarily make me disrespectful or flaky! That internal drive, that importance of self-leadership, will take you much further than anything else because you have acknowledged that I would rather be in creative arts or be an engineer or build a tech product or be a social entrepreneur. Success will definitely follow as long as that feeling is from within you and you keep feeding that feeling yourself through your actions and not that of someone else.