Challenging yourself and getting curious about how good you could be is a really effective way to increase your internal motivation (the most robust kind of motivation, so well worth having!) and your desire for improvement, however, as with most things the results also depend on the ingredients that you put in.
Take some inspiration from the world’s elite performers – they’ve got some consistent habits and thoughts when it comes to learning and improvement. Their recipe for success almost always includes three main elements:
- They have a huge commitment to dissatisfaction, whatever the outcome; constantly reviewing performance and goals as well as learning from both failures and successes
- They make sure that their preparation is extremely thorough; making sure you are both physically, mentally and strategically ready for the task ahead will not only make sure you are cognitively on form but it will also keep your confidence strong. This means variations in preparation quality can never be the reason for a difference in performance
- Top performers maintain a strong and persistent focus on the fundamentals; make sure that your house is being built on the rock, not on the sand, and that the basic skills you need are not being taken for granted. Where others rely on fundamentals being good enough, the elite are healthily paranoid that the fundamentals are never good enough
All of these things are simple to understand. But it’s not easy to keep the momentum going day after day. Staying motivated to do these things can often be the hardest part so try and keep it interesting and meaningful. Intrinsic or internal motivation involves doing something because you care about it, rather than for a reward (extrinsic/external motivation) and can often be the driving force for growth, achievement and satisfaction.
Creating a strong foundation via the 3Cs – control, connectedness and confidence, can help keep motivation in good health. The three Cs help bring this idea to life by breaking motivation down into areas that are much easier to digest.
- Control – when you feel in control of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, motivation will be strong. A sense of choice is a key ingredient to motivation
- Connectedness – people feel at their most motivated when they are part of something and they know the role they’re playing in helping to achieve shared success. If you’re connected, you know how, why and with whom you’re making a difference
- Confidence – if you’re confident you can do what’s being asked of you and you’re confident you want to do it, then motivation will be in good shape. Stay focused on making the most of all of the things you’re best at so that you’re playing to strengths in your role, not covering for weaknesses
High performance is a choice, and equipped with the right knowledge and understanding it’s hard to resist thinking about how much potential you could fulfil and just how good you could be.
“Thankfully, persistence is a great substitute for talent” – Steve Martin, Actor