What Drives Success Essay

According to the research of Dr. Anders Ericsson, motivation is the most significant predictor of success. In simple terms, Dr. Ericsson found that experts in many walks of life, whether sport, music, chess, dance, or business, had put in the most hours at their craft. He coined the phrase, "It takes 10 years and 10,000 hours to become an expert." Other research has show that the longer someone is in a career, the less important innate ability (i.e., intelligence) is and the more important motivation becomes. In other words, the most successful people just keep plugging away longer than others. Why is the relationship between motivation and success so robust? Because high motivation will ensure total preparation which will, in turn, ensure maximum performance and results.

Defining Motivation

Let's first consider what motivation is in very practical terms. Motivation can be defined in the following ways:

  • An internal or external drive that prompts a person to action
  • The ability to initiate and persist at a task
  • Putting 100% of your time, effort, energy, and focus into your work
  • Being able to work hard in the face of obstacles, boredom, fatigue, stress, and the desire to do other things
  • Motivation means doing everything you can to be as productive as you can.

Impact of Motivation

But it's one thing to saying you are motivated to achieve your goals; it's another entirely different thing to have that motivation translate into actual action toward those goals. Motivation is so important because it impacts every aspect of your business efforts:

  • Preparation
  • Persistence
  • Physical health
  • Lifestyle 
  • Outcome

Motivation Matrix

For every businessperson, there is a different motivation that drives them toward their goals. The Motivation Matrix breaks down motivation along two dimensions: Internal vs. external and positive vs. negative. The resulting four quadrants can each provide motivation, but will produce very different experiences and outcomes.

  • Internal-positive: Challenge, desire, passion, satisfaction, self-validation (outcome: successful, fulfilled, happy).
  • External-positive: Recognition and appreciation from boss and co-workers, financial rewards, stable life (outcome: some success, mostly fulfilled, dependent on others for continued success and good feelings).
  • Internal-negative: Threat, fear of failure, inadequacy, insecurity (outcome: considerable success, high rate of burnout, unhappiness).
  • External-negative: Fear of loss of job, insufficient respect from boss and co-workers, financial pressure, pressure from significant others, unstable life (some success, anxiety-ridden, unhappy).

Obviously, the ideal type of motivation is internal-positive because the motivation is coming from a place of strength and comfort. At the same time, there has been research that has shown that many successful business executives are driven by insecurity or need for attention, suggesting that an internal-negative or external-negative motivation can lead to success (though rarely happiness). Which quadrant do you think you belong to? If you are not in the internal-positive quadrant, you might want to reevaluate your motivations and work toward that place in the matrix.

Effort vs. Goals

It's really quite simple. All else being equal, whatever you put into your work efforts is what you will get out of them. Also, if you are among a group of equally capable colleagues or companies, the one who puts in the most time and effort is the one who is going to be most successful. A problem I see among many people in the business world these days is a disconnect between their efforts and their goals. When I speak to groups of young businesspeople, I always ask how many have big goals, like moving up to senior management or starting their own company. Just about everyone raises their hand. I then ask how many are doing everything they possibly can to achieve their goals. Only a few tentative hands go up. What this tells me is that there is often a gap between the goals they have and the effort they are putting into those goals. It's easy to say that you want to be a successful businessperson. It is much more difficult to actually make that happen. If you have this kind of disconnect, you have two choices. You can either lower goals to match your effort or you can raise your effort to match your goals. There is no right choice. But if you're truly motivated to be successful, you better make sure you're doing the work necessary to achieve your goals.

The Grind

The demanding nature of the business world means that you will likely be doing work that will take you far beyond the point at which it is fun and exciting. This junction is what I call The Grind, which starts when it gets stressful, tiring, and tedious. The Grind is also the point at which it really counts. The Grind is what separates successful businesspeople from those who are less successful. Many businesspeople when they reach this point either ease up or give up because it's just too darned hard. But truly motivated businesspeople reach The Grind and keep on going.

Many corporate psychologists will say that you have to love The Grind. I say that, except for a very few hyper-motivated businesspeople, love isn't in the cards because there's not much to love in The Grind. But how you respond to The Grind lies along a continuum. Loving the Grind is rare. At the other end of the continuum is "I hate The Grind." If you feel this way, you are not likely to stay motivated. I suggest that you neither love nor hate The Grind; you simply accept it as part of the deal in striving toward success. The Grind may not feel very good, but what does feel good is seeing your hard work pay off with success.

Prime Motivation

Prime motivation means working hard consistently under the most challenging conditions. It involves doing everything possible to achieve your professional goals.

Prime motivation begins with what I call the three D's. The first D stands for direction. Before you can attain prime motivation, you must first consider the different directions you can go in your work. You really have three choices: stop completely and find a new line of work, continue at your current level, or strive to be the best businessperson you can be.

The second D represents decision. With these three choices of direction, you must decide on one direction in which to go. None of these directions are necessarily right or wrong, better or worse, they're simply your options. Your choice will dictate the amount of time and effort you will put into your work and how successful a businessperson you will ultimately become.

The third D stands for dedication. Once you've made your decision, you must dedicate yourself to it. If your decision is to become a truly successful businessperson, then this last step, dedication, will determine whether you have prime motivation. Your decision to be your best and your dedication to your work will then become a top priority. Only by being completely dedicated to your direction and decision will you ensure that you have the prime motivation you will need to achieve your professional goals.

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01-26-2014, 06:48 PM
 
3,095 posts, read 2,870,262 times
Another NYT article deals on the same old topic with some updated facts. I urge all parents and parents-to-be from all cultural background to read and discuss this article with your children if applicable.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/op...cess.html?_r=0

".....material success cannot be equated with a well-lived life. But willful blindness to facts is never a good policy (or practice)...."



"Jewish success is the most historically fraught and the most broad-based. Although Jews make up only about 2 percent of the United States’ adult population, they account for a third of the current Supreme Court; over two-thirds of Tony Award-winning lyricists and composers; and about a third of American Nobel laureates."



"MOST fundamentally, groups rise and fall over time. The fortunes of WASP elites have been declining for decades. In 1960, second-generation Greek-Americans reportedly had the second-highest income of any census-tracked group. Group success in America often tends to dissipate after two generations. Thus while Asian-American kids overall had SAT scores 143 points above average in 2012 — including a 63-point edge over whites — a 2005 study of over 20,000 adolescents found that third-generation Asian-American students performed no better academically than white students."

This is an interesting piece of information that coincides with the idea that recent immigrants and their children tend to over achieve compared to generational Americans. So settling long in America erodes the inner drive for achievements for most. Maybe some Americans who are struggling here should consider packing up and leave this country to find new opportunities elsewhere.
01-26-2014, 08:21 PM
 
4,937 posts, read 5,052,609 times
Originally Posted by leoliu
"Take New York City’s selective public high schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science, which are major Ivy League feeders. For the 2013 school year, Stuyvesant High School offered admission, based solely on a standardized entrance exam, to nine black students, 24 Hispanics, 177 whites and 620 Asians. Among the Asians of Chinese origin, many are the children of restaurant workers and other working-class immigrants."

Does this weaken the excuses of poor children having less access to better educational opportunities?
Do these chinese have to pay tuition to attend Stuyvesant or Bronx Science? If they dont, then all of it is being footed by the tax payers. If they do, I wonder how they are affording it, or is it really that cheap?
01-26-2014, 09:00 PM
 
20,200 posts, read 14,167,571 times
Originally Posted by leoliu
Another NYT article deals on the same old topic with some updated facts. I urge all parents and parents-to-be from all cultural background to read and discuss this article with your children if applicable.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/op...cess.html?_r=0

".....material success cannot be equated with a well-lived life. But willful blindness to facts is never a good policy (or practice)...."



"Jewish success is the most historically fraught and the most broad-based. Although Jews make up only about 2 percent of the United States’ adult population, they account for a third of the current Supreme Court; over two-thirds of Tony Award-winning lyricists and composers; and about a third of American Nobel laureates."



"MOST fundamentally, groups rise and fall over time. The fortunes of WASP elites have been declining for decades. In 1960, second-generation Greek-Americans reportedly had the second-highest income of any census-tracked group. Group success in America often tends to dissipate after two generations. Thus while Asian-American kids overall had SAT scores 143 points above average in 2012 — including a 63-point edge over whites — a 2005 study of over 20,000 adolescents found that third-generation Asian-American students performed no better academically than white students."

This is an interesting piece of information that coincides with the idea that recent immigrants and their children tend to over achieve compared to generational Americans. So settling long in America erodes the inner drive for achievements for most. Maybe some Americans who are struggling here should consider packing up and leave this country to find new opportunities elsewhere.
Or perhaps it isn't important really whether you score high on the SAT or whether you go to a top university or not.

You should enjoy yourself while you on earth. It doesn't matter whether this group has more doctors or more plumbers. Be yourself, take care of yourself as an individual, and the rest really doesn't matter.

Keep in mind established Americans families already have things like property, and if your have at least a middle class existence, you may be in on social networks/support groups that can assist one with things like finding a job. So they aren't trying to be top of the class in order to get a job because there is no need. Immigrants are marginalized as strangers in a stranger place, and if an immigrant doesn't get it together they may find themselves working as a bus boy or in some other equally awful job for the rest of their lives. So this maybe a factor in why there's a rush among some immigrants to push their children hard.

At the end of the day, it takes all types of people to make the world work. Different strokes for different folks.
01-26-2014, 09:29 PM
 
706 posts, read 775,280 times
Asian female marries white Jew male
01-26-2014, 09:39 PM
 
13,487 posts, read 16,157,035 times
Originally Posted by leoliu
Another NYT article deals on the same old topic with some updated facts. I urge all parents and parents-to-be from all cultural background to read and discuss this article with your children if applicable.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/op...cess.html?_r=0

".....material success cannot be equated with a well-lived life. But willful blindness to facts is never a good policy (or practice)...."



"Jewish success is the most historically fraught and the most broad-based. Although Jews make up only about 2 percent of the United States’ adult population, they account for a third of the current Supreme Court; over two-thirds of Tony Award-winning lyricists and composers; and about a third of American Nobel laureates."



"MOST fundamentally, groups rise and fall over time. The fortunes of WASP elites have been declining for decades. In 1960, second-generation Greek-Americans reportedly had the second-highest income of any census-tracked group. Group success in America often tends to dissipate after two generations. Thus while Asian-American kids overall had SAT scores 143 points above average in 2012 — including a 63-point edge over whites — a 2005 study of over 20,000 adolescents found that third-generation Asian-American students performed no better academically than white students."

This is an interesting piece of information that coincides with the idea that recent immigrants and their children tend to over achieve compared to generational Americans. So settling long in America erodes the inner drive for achievements for most. Maybe some Americans who are struggling here should consider packing up and leave this country to find new opportunities elsewhere.
Actually Lebanese Americans are far more sccuesful then Jews and Wasps.

https://mobile.mmedia.me/lb/en/leban...ever-we-go-ego

Last i hope the moderators can move this thread to the great debates. This thread does not have nothing to do with nyc but only on an national level. Also im still waiting for a Jew to become us president after 2 and half centuries od wasp domination.

Last edited by Bronxguyanese; 01-26-2014 at 10:01 PM..
01-26-2014, 09:48 PM
 
1,752 posts, read 1,269,448 times
In the article it also mentions Nigerians:

Nigerians make up less than 1 percent of the black population in the United States, yet in 2013 nearly one-quarter of the black students at Harvard Business School were of Nigerian ancestry; over a fourth of Nigerian-Americans have a graduate or professional degree, as compared with only about 11 percent of whites.


I thought that it was just me noticing, all the Nigerians that I've met either from the corporate world or grad school are sort of rich. I recall my first job i met this guy from Nigeria and he told me that he paid 50k cash for his car coming straight out of college. Also the only F1 visa students from Africa that I've met came from Nigeria, and one told me how he was spending $100 on dinner every night and goes to school full time. I was like WTF. Also I thought I read a stat somewhere that 1 out of 10 Indian Americans are millionaires and that they own the majority of independently operated models throughout the US. The only thing surprising is that I've heard stories of Indian Americans owning a model after only arriving in the US for like 5/6 years working crappy jobs.

Last edited by bumblebyz; 01-26-2014 at 10:14 PM..
01-26-2014, 10:00 PM
 
3,095 posts, read 2,870,262 times
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133
Do these chinese have to pay tuition to attend Stuyvesant or Bronx Science? If they dont, then all of it is being footed by the tax payers. If they do, I wonder how they are affording it, or is it really that cheap?

I urge you to read the entire article to get a full flavor of it, not to just focus on any single ethnic group.

FYI, entrance to NYC public high schools is application/merit based. If the students don't get into those specialized high schools, they will go to other public schools funded by tax money, regardles whether their parents pay taxes or not. so your question is really irrelevant.
01-26-2014, 10:18 PM
 
3,095 posts, read 2,870,262 times
Originally Posted by NyWriterdude
Or perhaps it isn't important really whether you score high on the SAT or whether you go to a top university or not.

You should enjoy yourself while you on earth. It doesn't matter whether this group has more doctors or more plumbers. Be yourself, take care of yourself as an individual, and the rest really doesn't matter.

Keep in mind established Americans families already have things like property, and if your have at least a middle class existence, you may be in on social networks/support groups that can assist one with things like finding a job. So they aren't trying to be top of the class in order to get a job because there is no need. Immigrants are marginalized as strangers in a stranger place, and if an immigrant doesn't get it together they may find themselves working as a bus boy or in some other equally awful job for the rest of their lives. So this maybe a factor in why there's a rush among some immigrants to push their children hard.

At the end of the day, it takes all types of people to make the world work. Different strokes for different folks.

This view works during post WWII America, not today in this globalization era where competitions come from all directions and American companies only care about how to maximize their profits. A lot of established Americans families will find the value of their established properties disappear rapidly and them joining the poor class if they cannot keep up with the increasing and ruthless competitions from overseas.
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