When all else fails follow the signs


The signs may not always be clear

The next time you’re contemplating which path to follow, pay attention to the source of your motivation. Is it hunger for success, or determination not to fail? These might at first appear identical, but people motivated by ‘I must succeed’ achieve more than those motivated by ‘I must not fail’, and it’s more than just a matter of positive thinking. The target you set alters your behaviour.

Take the first group; the success-seekers. When performing a task and failing, they will only persist for a limited time before abandoning it. Unconcerned by failure, they instead pursue tasks where success is more certain, maximising opportunities for high achievement. Failure-avoiders, on the other hand, will persist. Determined to prove they can overcome failure, they instead expose themselves to it,  and often only achieve mediocre performance.

While persistence can certainly enhance performance, there is another success strategy: seeing through the disappointment of failure and spotting exactly where your opportunities for achievement lie. But on days when inspiration is lacking where do you begin to look?

Identifying activities that resonate or ‘feel right’ builds a personalised signpost that directs you to your most authentic areas of high performance and energy. People who use their intuition are happier, more confident and more likely to reach their goals.

A way to find out is to ask yourself ‘What would I do if I had enough money to last a lifetime. What work would I still want to do?’ What activities do you do where the time melts away and you feel inspired?

In this way, approaching success can be simple when you know how to look for the signs. Then take action by making your signified actions prominent; allocate time every day to pursue them, take a course or find a mentor that can help you. Perhaps you can start part time; if you’re lucky it may be what you’re doing now.

Remember that success is not just about your work. It may be a hobby, social work, playing sport or coaching your children’s team. It may earn money or simply provide satisfaction and contentment. For me it’s surfing, writing and restoring classic cars. As a result I enjoy my job more and come to work with energy and enthusiasm. Whatever your passion is, it will enrich your life and provide balance to the more mundane things that we all must do.

Look for the signs, trust your instinct and pursue a balanced life of satisfaction and happiness.


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