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The Motivation Myth

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The Motivation Myth

How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win


15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Motivation grows from small daily successes, not flashes of inspiration.

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  • Applicable
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  • Inspiring


Jeff Haden, an Inc. magazine contributing editor, asked successful musicians, race car drivers, corporate leaders and athletes how they sustain their motivation. They cited working hard, following a daily process and not relying on inspiration. Whatever your objective, Haden advises, define tasks to do every day without fail, and watch those small wins accumulate as you progress toward your goals. 


Motivation does not come from moments of inspiration.

Day-after-day motivation derives from completing the daily work your goal requires, not from flashes of inspiration. Daily work is enduring and inspiring, while a spark of inspiration is momentary and fleeting. Your confidence and motivation will grow as you create a list of the tasks you must do each day and work steadily to complete them. This positive combination is the road to reaching your goal; once it is part of your routine, it will appear in other parts of your life as well

Find a process that supports your goal, and stick to it. You may think sharing your goal with friends will keep you on track, but research finds the opposite is true. When you talk to friends about hiking the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, for example, it gives you a false sense that you’ve done it. This undermines your determination to actually hike the trail.

You may believe that others have greater innate willpower than you. But willpower is something you learn – no one is born with it. Successful people don’t need instant gratification, and don’t succumb to fear. They work...

About the Author

Jeff Haden, a contributing editor at Inc. magazine, is a keynote speaker and ghostwriter of numerous books.

Comment on this summary

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    T. F. 3 years ago
    I LOVE This line "good
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    W. H. 4 years ago
    Makes me want to read the book. ‘Successful people don’t need instant gratification’. Love it.
  • Avatar
    J. S. 4 years ago
    I love this line "Good leaders remain good leaders, even when they have bad days."

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