Without motivation in life, it’s hard to strive for success and achieve internal happiness. How can you pass your exam if you aren’t motivated to study? And how can you be happy if you’re spending all your time on external motives (pleasing those around you to receive praise or success) instead of internal motives (focusing on a goal for personal happiness)?
As psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, explains in his book Happier, happiness is the ‘highest on the hierarchy of goals, the end toward which all other ends lead…’.
So, to help you reach your goal of self-love and satisfaction, we’ve listed the reasons why motivation is vital for success, and how you can achieve eternal happiness.
1. It Increases Your Energy Levels
When you’re motivated, your entire body is pumped with adrenaline to help you complete the goals that you have set for yourself, which results in increased energy levels. For example, when you’re excited about a project that you’re working on, you rarely get tired. And when you’re out partying, you can dance the whole night away without any problems, but if you were attending a gym class that you disliked, on the other hand, you’d struggle to get through an hour.
When we have autonomy over our own tasks and goals, we instantly see our energy levels increase as we are more focused and passionate about the result. This proves that work motivation can increase our energy levels and allow us to perform better.
2. It Makes You Happier
Motivation builds determination to achieve something, like losing weight or securing a new job, and when you succeed, you feel happy with your results. So, if you continue to motivate yourself and set and achieve new goals, you’ll generally feel happier than you did before.
And although success is the root of motivation, happiness is the underlying desire leading the motivation. So, to ensure that both your happiness and motivational levels are growing, set yourself small challenges and learn to be satisfied with gradual improvement.
3. It’s Infectious
When one team member is motivated, it’s likely to rub off on their colleagues, causing more employees to be committed and driven. Indeed, one study referred to by Lifehacker shows that ‘when one team member [feels] and [expresses] positive emotions, others [are] more likely to respond favourably to that team member's social influence attempts’.
This is also relevant to your personal life. Think back to when you spent time with someone that was positive; did their positivity rub off on you and make you feel more productive? If so, think about how your positive energy can influence those around you and make them feel more motivated as a result.
4. It Enhances Your Performance
According to the research of Dr Anders Ericsson, and as Jim Taylor, PhD, writes in Psychology Today, motivation is the most significant predictor of success, and success is achieved through high performance. By understanding what motivates you to do better, you will naturally be a better worker and climb up the career ladder faster, or reach your personal goals.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Cornell University researchers Kaitlin Woolley and Ayelet Fishbach found that ‘giving people an immediate bonus for working on a task, rather than waiting until the end of the task to reward them, increased their interest and enjoyment in the task’.
So, on this basis, try to set up a reward system for yourself to help you stay motivated. It doesn’t have to be anything big; it can be something small like a cup of coffee from Starbucks or treating yourself to your favourite chocolate bar.
5. It Increases Your Commitment
When anyone is motivated to do something, they will be more committed to the task and will put all their efforts into it. It sounds easy when you’re naturally motivated to do a good job, but when you’re feeling demotivated, you need to remind yourself of the importance that commitment can have on your overall success.
Let’s say that you’re hoping for a promotion – if you are motivated and committed to doing the best that you can, you’ll have a better chance of bagging that promotion and advancing in your career.
6. It Helps You Manage Your Time More Efficiently
Motivation is important to manage the challenges that life throws at us and to do so efficiently. For example, highly motivated people are organised, and they allocate set times in their schedules to different tasks, setting themselves a deadline to complete each one. On the other hand, those who are less motivated don’t stick to a specific plan and end up procrastinating in the process.
A good example is something simple like waking up on time and getting out of bed. If you love what you do, you’ll be more motivated to get out of bed and into work on time, but if you feel indifferent, you could end up hitting the ‘Snooze’ button a few times too many and wasting unnecessary time in the process.
7. It Helps You Grow as a Person
Motivation enhances self-development. Indeed, as you set yourself personal goals and you reach them, you’ll feel more inspired to push yourself further and achieve greater things.
Take Rihanna for example, who started singing at the young age of 17. Since then, she’s acted in blockbuster movies, including Ocean’s 8 and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and launched her own makeup brand and a lingerie company. By continuing to set herself new targets, she’s achieved great success and has established herself as an entertainer and entrepreneur.
8. It Builds Your Self-Confidence
People that lack confidence are generally scared to move out of their comfort zone and try something new. However, if you don’t take risks, you’ll have a limited chance of success. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to drop your entire routine to try something new.
Instead, you can juggle a few different tasks on the go until you decide what you enjoy and what keeps you motivated. For example, if you are thinking of setting up your own business, start while you’re still employed. If you can see that it’s successful, then it’s a clear indication to leave your day job and focus solely on your business. However, if it’s not progressing as planned, you’ll have the safety net of your job to fall back on.
Without motivation, success is unachievable. And while success is the vision, it’s essential to remember that happiness is what’s most important in the equation, because without happiness, there will be no sense of purpose to your success.
Why do you think that motivation is important for success and happiness? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 15 November 2014.