Skip to content

Motivation dictates your level of achievement, not your ability.

I’m a strong believer in the theory that motivation dictates outcomes, not one’s ability. As Napoleon Hill outlines in his classic text, “Think & Grow Rich”, the first two ingredients to an enriched life is desire and faith.

Take this for example:

You come across a knight guarding an empty castle in the forest. The castle is surrounded by a moat filled with crocodiles, flesh-eating piranhas, and all other things you ought not to encounter in dark water. The moat is too wide to jump and the draw bridge is out of action.

The knight challenges you to get inside the castle and informs you that in the King’s vacant room, at the top of the tower, is a $10 note. “The $10 bucks is yours if you get inside”, he says. Of course, you would respond: “Pffftttt…$10 bucks!! I’m not risking my life crossing that moat for $10 bucks!” and you would storm off.

So let’s change the knight’s challenge….. The knight says to you: “In the King’s vacant room, at the top of the tower, is entire your family. They are tied up and you have 90 minutes to get into the castle and free them, otherwise, they will be executed.”

Would you try and get into the castle now?

Yes, of course, you would. You would consider every option, call in every favour, find a way to cut down trees to build a makeshift bridge, hire a catapult….whatever you would need to do to get in there.

What has changed? That is simple: Your motivation to achieve the outcome.

This is clearly an extreme example with a life and death situation, however, it does prove that your motivation to achieve can be adjusted depending on the context.

For a real-life scenario, I recently challenged a client to achieve a stretch financial target in the last month of the financial year, June. This particular client had averaged $80,000 per month in professional fees for the last three to four years. So in June, I set them a target:

“In June, we’re going to achieve $100,000 in professional fees.”

The $100k target became the buzz in the office for the month. All team members chipped in, generating new work, calling old clients to check-in, and accelerating old matters that had been bogged down. We constantly monitored the progress, and kept our eye on the prize.

On 30 June, my client completed a $108,000 month.

They’d never exceeded $100k in one month before. The Principal was extremely proud of her team.

So the moral of the story is what? Your ability to achieve a goal is only limited by your motivation to achieve it. Adjust your motivation levels and set them to achieve your desired outcome and you will be surprised by the result.

Posted in