We’re only human. We can’t always continuously motivate ourselves. Therefore, the source of your motivation has to be chosen carefully.
It’s like changing only for someone else. If that person is your only reason for motivation, your motivation is gone the moment they go away. That’s why you can’t use pain as motivation.
Moving away from pain can’t give you lasting motivation. Let’s face it, most of us don’t have very good long-term discipline. In fact, it’s proven that the best way to keep someone motivated is to have a continuous feedback system where you continually feel rewarded for the improvements you’re making.
Now, what if you’re improving against a standard where the standard is avoiding failure, and not success?
Moving away from failure
When the standard is to avoid failure, to avoid pain, you will continuously compare yourself against that. When you’re in pain, you’ll have a lot of motivation to do something about it. As you move away more and more, you start forgetting your pain. And how much it hurt you before. It also means that you start getting less and less motivated.
It’s very hard for someone to keep in mind how they felt when they first made their New Year’s resolution. Most of us will then start forgetting what exactly pushed us to make that promise in the first place. That’s why, as time passes by, your promise loses urgency. New Years’ resolutions are often made to move away from pain. And that’s why they usually fail.
This is where a more permanent reminder has to be there.
Moving towards success
When you move towards success, the opposite effect happens, the more you progress, the closer you get to the source of your motivation. Rather than losing motivation, you start to feel that your goal is in your grasp. This can actually increase your motivation the longer you’ve done it.
When your standard is to avoid failure, you’ll stop trying the moment you’ve avoided that failure (and afterwards just fall right back down again), but when your standard is success, you can only stop trying when you’ve achieved success. And that generally takes a lot longer to achieve.
It motivates you longer.
It brings you to greater heights.
“Avoiding failure is not the same as aiming for success.” – Lutfi Torla
P.S. This is planned as part of a short series on how aiming for success is not the same as avoiding failure.