Do you ever get the unsettling feeling that you’re not messing up at work, but not exactly setting the world on fire either? Your focus wavers. You struggle to get motivated. You even wonder why you’re doing what you’re doing. The hunger, passion, and joy that you started out with are nowhere to be found.
Left unchecked, you can lose sight of your goals and aspirations — and your boss can just as easily lose sight of you. Nobody wins. The road to success is a long one. Sometimes we get stuck in second gear; if you drive a car, you know that’s not the best way to be moving.
This happens when we get too comfortable at work. Remember day one on the job? We were eager to prove ourselves, hungry for opportunities, and soaking up everything we could learn. Before long, we settled in nicely, usually with some small wins in the bag.
We start to think, “I got this. This isn’t so hard after all.” We relax and take our foot off the pedal. This is when complacency sets in. To reach the next level of success, you may have to, ironically enough, set yourself up to fail.
“There are plenty of obstacles in your path. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.” - Ralph Marston
Lighting a fire under you
Many people unwittingly self-sabotage their success. Procrastination, self-doubt, and people-pleasing are some of the main accomplices. This is different. Intentionally putting yourself in a position where you’re likely to fail can have a positive effect on your focus and motivation.
It’s like lighting a fire under your butt. It’s not for the faint of heart, or mind. The higher likelihood of failure puts pressure on our performance. We feel the heat, we smell burnt behinds, and our natural instinct to get our butt moving kicks in.
There’s good science behind this. In a landmark study dating back as far as 1908, psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dodson developed the inverted U-shaped model. It shows that when pressure increases in the early stages, individual performance doesn’t drop but actually improves.
Gordon Ramsay even believes that pressure is necessary if you want to be successful: “As a soccer player, I wanted an FA Cup winner’s medal. As an actor you want an Oscar. As a chef it’s three-Michelin’s stars, there’s no greater than that. So pushing yourself to the extreme creates a lot of pressure and a lot of excitement, and more importantly, it shows on the plate.
Rising above it all
Pressure from likely failure can give rise to improved performance. For example, many professional creatives admit they do their best work when they are dangerously close to the deadline. When the possibility of missing the deadline becomes very real, they are able to crank up their motivation and focus. Their improved productivity led to better performance.
You may be wondering, what if I can’t cope with the pressure? Psychologists have shown that it is our mental approach to pressure that determines how well we cope with it.
When we take on a positive mental approach, we see pressure as a challenge. Our mind and body responds in a way to improve our performance; staying in control of our thoughts and emotions, sharpening our focus, and making better decisions.
But if we perceive pressure negatively, it becomes a threat that can paralyze our thoughts and abilities. Our confidence dips and our performance drops. How we choose to perceive pressure can decide if we rise above it, or crumble under it.
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis
How can you do the same?
If you’re up for a challenge to push yourself closer toward your personal greatness, here’s how you can kick things up notch:
- Acknowledge it if you’re neither bad nor great at what you do.
- Create or take on a difficult challenge that will increase the pressure to perform/produce.
- Adopt a positive mindset to the challenge.
- Be aware of the pressure, but focus on meeting the challenge.
- Take stock of what you’re learning from the experience.
Using potential failure as a motivational tool isn’t for everyone. For some, it can be a powerful shot in the arm to jolt themselves out of inertia and passivity. The confidence gained from succeeding (or failing) against the odds can bring more success in the future.
How do you respond to pressure and how does it work for you? Leave your thoughts below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
Here’s When Self Improvement Becomes Ineffective
I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on self-help books and seminars over the past three years. I’ve devoted thousands of hours reading blogs and listening to podcasts about personal growth and self-improvement with the goal of finding the answers that would “fix” me. After my divorce I became addicted to the idea that the answer to my happiness and healing was in a book, podcast or a blog. I kept waiting to read or hear that magic “Ah Ha” tip that would change my life forever. (more…)
Your Life Has a Meaning: Here’s How to Find Out What It Is
Knowing the purpose of one’s existence in the world is a lingering thought for everyone. Some people may interpret it as a quest, as they try out new adventures and learn new skills. Meanwhile, others may view it as a mystery that slowly reveals itself as they spend their time on Earth. They say that their complete realization of their purpose would not come in this life but the next. (more…)
10 Life Lessons I Learned in 2020 and What to Expect Next
The year 2020 has been full of ups and downs. And it is something that this generation has never been through before. And like most people, I put a lot of effort into planning, organizing, and setting goals for everything I wanted to achieve. The beginning of the year 2020 was great until the pandemic hit, everything changed. (more…)
10 Remarkable Lessons From an Unconventional School Teacher
The Truth About Marketing Every First Time Founder Should Know
Success Is Never Owned and Rent Is Due Everyday
5 Smart Goals to Make This Year Your Most Successful Ever
Here’s When Self Improvement Becomes Ineffective
7 Ways to Face Adversity Using the Power of Extreme Ownership
55 Inspirational Quotes That Will Change Your Life
(Images) 52 Motivational Picture Quotes For An Epic Year Of Success
30 Famous Quotes That Will Inspire Success In You
40 Rare Motivational and Inspirational Picture Quotes
72 Positive Thinking Quotes For More Inner Strength & Growth
3 Prince EA Videos To Change Humanities Path To Greatness
(Video) What Is Success? An Entrepreneurial Story To Inspire You
(Inspirational Video) What If Today You Knew You Were Going To Take Your Last Breath?
How To Make Enough Money From A Blog To Quit Your Job – Kate McKibbin
How Finding Your Passion And Becoming An Entrepreneur Can Lead To Happiness – Chiquita Searle
- Entrepreneurs4 weeks ago
7 Days to Success: a Weekly Ritual to Become a Successful Entrepreneur
- Success Advice3 weeks ago
5 Powerful Reasons Why You Should Write Down Your Goals
- Life4 weeks ago
How to Discover the Fears That Impede Your Behaviors and Thwart Your Plans
- Life3 weeks ago
3 of the Most Important Life Lessons You Can Learn From Sports
- Life4 weeks ago
How to Crush Fear, Beat Imposter Syndrome, and Create a Fulfilled Life
- Motivation3 weeks ago
How to Use the 3 Sins of Motivation to Achieve Your Goals
- Entrepreneurs3 weeks ago
Entrepreneurs: Here’s the Best Method to Help You Get Your Money Right
- Success Advice2 weeks ago
How Can I Stay Organized When I Have Too Much on My Plate? Here’s How: