People all around the world are looking for the secret to success. There are countless answers out there: personal connections, wealth, good luck, positive mindset, hard work, determination, passion, and on and on.
Some of those things might be true for some people, but I don’t think success comes from just any one variable. I also don’t think there is a single tangible answer that can be replicated by the masses. It seems that the more we look for one, the more questions we tend to find.
What is the secret to success? Is it enough to be passionate and hardworking? Is it enough to have a positive mindset? What steps can we take to become more successful?
Well, if you have been pondering questions like these, look no further. I believe success comes from, not one variable, but a combination of variables, an equation if you will. I’m not talking about anything too complicated or complex, like rocket science. This is an equation so simple it practically solves itself:
(Intrinsic Motivation + Action) x Momentum = Success
“I’m not a math whiz! What does this mean?” Don’t worry, as my high school algebra teacher could attest, this isn’t real math, but I can assure you that it works very well. Allow me to explain each variable.
Intrinsic motivation is your internal, innate reason for wanting to do something and it’s the vital first part of the formula for success. Without it, everything we try to do will most likely fail, but what is intrinsic motivation?
Let me ask you a question: what do you like to do in your free time? Do you volunteer because it feeds your soul to help others? Maybe you love doing puzzles because you love the feeling you get when you solve a problem? Do you go hiking because you love to connect with nature?
If no one were paying you, would you still volunteer, solve puzzles, or go hiking? Of course you would! You receive intrinsic rewards when you do those things, and therefore you have a strong, internal motivation to keep doing them.
Another way to look at this is to know your “why.” Your “why” is your deep-rooted reason for doing something. Simon Sinek talks about this a lot, and Tony Robbins says, “If you have a strong enough ‘why,’ you can do anything.” It’s a great concept, but there is another side to this coin.
Having a weak “why,” or no “why” at all, means that you have no intrinsic motivation to speak of. You’re practically a rocket ship with no rocket fuel. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a rocket get too far without fuel.
To achieve success in any endeavor, you must start with your intrinsic motivation – you must start with why. Why do you want to achieve success in your life?
“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them, just find a new way to stand.” – Oprah Winfrey
Now that you know what motivates you and you have a strong “why,” you have to take action towards your dreams. Action is the second part of the formula for success because, without action, we wouldn’t get anywhere in life. We might have fuel in our tanks, but we still have to hit the launch button.
I see a lot of people who spend time learning, planning, learning some more, trying desperately to perfect their strategy before they start. But the reality is, you are going to discover the most valuable lessons along the way.
It is impossible to plan for every situation, so trying to do so only delays your success. Author Karen Lamb says, “A Year from Now You May Wish You Had Started Today” and that’s true. “Someday” is a common code for “never.”
Sure, jumping in without having everything figured out will cause you to run into the occasional obstacle or setback, but again, you can’t plan for every obstacle. If you have a strong enough “why,” you’ll overcome obstacles and press on.
So, whether you’re ready or not, you need to take action towards your goals to achieve success. The only way to achieve success is to start taking action and build momentum. What one thing can you do today to take action towards your goals?
In my opinion, momentum is the most critical aspect in the formula for success and here’s why: Starting isn’t worth much if you keep quitting. Remember that rocket ship analogy from before? If not having a “why” is like not having any fuel, then starting and stopping is like using up all of your fuel only to land again immediately.
Building momentum, however, is like breaking free of the atmosphere and reaching space. Once there, the zero gravity keeps the rocket afloat, and the pilot only uses relatively small amounts of fuel to propel and steer the rocket through space.
I read an article from The Huffington Post and it said, “In 1967, Apollo mission to the moon, the Saturn V rocket’s needed over 500,000 gallons of fuel just to break free of the Earth’s atmosphere. The final stage of the trip only required 86,059 gallons of fuel. That means it took nearly 5.8 times as much effort to launch as it did to keep the momentum.”
So, the next time you think about quitting, remember how much energy and effort it took to get started in the beginning. Do you want to go through that again? Do you really want to waste that much energy when you could keep going?
Don’t quit! Instead, keep taking action towards your goals, day after day, month after month, and year after year. Doing this will help you create radical momentum in your life and in your goals.
“Momentum solves 80% of your problems.” – John C. Maxwell
So there you have it, the formula for success. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do – land on the moon, lose weight, start a business, run a marathon, save a million dollars – you have to know why you want to achieve success. You have to have fuel in the tank.
Once you know what’s propelling you forward, you have to take action every day and never quit. This will allow you to build an unstoppable momentum that will carry you to the success you seek.
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Success takes time. There are no shortcuts. There are no quick fixes. There are no overnight successes. To be successful, you have to intrinsic motivation for the long haul, and no matter what, you cannot quit taking action.