You can fail once, or you can fail a hundred times. Chances are that it will be closer to the latter. You never know on which attempt you’ll reach your goal. Stephen King was rejected by 30 publishers before he finally found someone willing to publish his first novel. Imagine if he had given up at number 29. Put 100% in every attempt in when you set out to achieve your goals — you will learn every time you fail. And the lessons learned improve your chances on the next try.
In today’s society, it’s increasingly easier to get what we want as soon as we want it. Because we are generally are not programmed well for failure, we lose a bit of perseverance and determination when we fail.
Instead of throwing your arms up in defeat as soon as things don’t go your way, learn from your mistakes and use these lessons to overcome obstacles in the future. Nobody is an overnight success. Successful people all have their share of rejections and failures. They just get back up whenever they fall.
Martin Seligman and his team have done numerous studies on goal-setting and achieving. They found that perseverance and consistency are hugely critical for ensuring successful execution of targeted plans. It’s necessary to do periodic self-assessments to ensure you are on the right track.
“Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.”– Jim Rohn
Master your own motivation
Staying motivated on your journey to success is a huge challenge. You can use the “Goldilocks Rule” as a tool to help you stay motivated.
Imagine you are playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year old. You quickly become bored, as the match is too easy. Alternatively, if you play a serious match against a professional player like Serena Williams or Rafael Nadal, demotivation will come for a different reason.
Compare this to playing a match with an equal. During the game, you’ll lose some points and win some points. You have a chance of winning, but only if you really give it your best. Distractions fade away, and you gain focus. You find yourself invested in the task at hand. Studies have found that these types of tasks are most likely to keep us motived in the long run.
People want to be challenged — preferably in an optimal level of difficulty. Tasks way below our abilities are boring, and tasks too far above our skill level are discouraging. But tasks that fall perfectly in the zone between success and failure are incredibly motivating to our brains — we strive to learn skills that are just above our current limits.
This phenomenon is called The Goldilocks Rule, which states that human beings feel the highest amount of motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current limits.
Working on tasks that conform to the Goldilocks Rule is important in maintaining long-term motivation. If you feel you are not motivated while doing something, figure out where this task lies in reference to the Goldilocks Rule. If it is not challenging enough, make it more demanding. If it’s outside of your abilities, try to break it into subtasks that are more within your wheelhouse.