Finding Intrinsic, Lasting Motivation to Succeed

By Denis Waitley

For the high achiever, it’s natural to seek out challenging goals because he or she has an inner, intrinsic drive to succeed. And success doesn’t mean pet rocks, get-rich-quick schemes, lotto jackpots or chain letters. High achievers are looking not to receive, but to contribute, to give. They’re looking for problems that are personally satisfying to solve. Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffett, three of the wealthiest individuals in the world, eagerly go to work every day to face the challenge of solving a new and bigger problem. All could be playing Backgammon on a tropical island or two rounds of golf per day.

Since the accomplishment of a difficult task means more to the high achiever than any external motivation, it means that motivation will remain strong throughout his or her career. Think of how much stronger and more permanent such a motivation is compared to one that is extrinsic.

Suppose you choose a particular career because of the money. What happens when there’s more money in doing something else? You’re likely to abandon one path as soon as another possibility opens up, and eventually you’ll find yourself wondering what you’re really doing… maybe even who you really are.

Since there is no inner drive to stay on any particular path, the journey will be arduous, and motivation will tend to weaken whenever the external reward seems remote or out of sight. This is especially true with individuals who want a home business with high rewards and minimal risk. Some people spend their entire lives wandering from one field to another, always looking for an easier way to find that pot of gold, never achieving a significant goal worthy of their inner potential.

I’ve met many people who fit this description. If they’re in sales, they move from company to company, from industry to industry, for one product or service to another. They are very hard to keep on your hand held electronic address book or in your directory of contacts because they are always either coming or going or starting another new business of their own. When that doesn’t work, they get involved in sketchy enterprises, especially start-up-companies offering big, easy rewards, such as a wonder diet company where you can lose all the weight you want by eating anything you want and swallowing one amazing pill a day. They go from one Roman candle to another, from one “exciting opportunity” to another disappointment.

The problem is, money alone does not stimulate intrinsic motivation and therefore is a means, not an end. Money is like fuel for your car. It is not the destination. It is not the journey. It is only part of the transportation system. Make your “why” grab you by your very soul. You’ll never be disappointed for very long. And you’ll stay committed regardless of “stock market gyrations” or setbacks.

This week, find your unique “why” and pursue it with passion!

– Denis Waitley