“When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t the people who are motivated, but have consistency in their motivation.” – Arsene Wenger
You will probably be quite familiar with the term ‘motivation’. Motivation is something that is heralded as one of the great tools for success. It has a reputation as a kind of lightning bolt of energy and productivity, that once cultivated will render whatever activity you are using it for completed to its fullest. If motivated, you are likely to have exceeded expectations and breezed through the task at hand with relative ease, such is the unparalleled clarity of your focus!
This is slightly in jest of course. But motivation is something that people seem to wish they could bottle, so useful is it to finding success. However, success cannot run on motivation alone. It’s less raved about siblings, and consistency, which might not be as exciting, but it is absolutely just as important to functioning at a useful level in the long term. Let’s think about why…
The Pros and Cons Of Motivation
Motivation has many pros. Motivation itself is characterised by the desire to reach a certain goal or outcome. Therefore, by definition, motivation has great energy and is a fantastic tool for growth beyond your current limits and abilities. Motivation is exciting to sit in as well, it brings about hope, endorphins, belief that you can achieve something that, perhaps, you have never achieved before.
But there are cons. The issue with motivation is that it is unreliable. Motivation levels change from day to day. It can be punctured by a number of things. Perhaps you are having a bad day, perhaps you are hungry, or perhaps you become distracted and pulled into something else. Motivation can also waver when the goal you are shooting for is long-term. If something is taking a lot of time to reach, the monotony or lack of exciting results can make motivation hard to cultivate.
The Pros and Cons Of Consistency
The pros of consistency are clear. Although consistency might not be as exciting as motivation, it is the foundation upon which new ground is broken and success is achieved. It is the thing that makes new habits settle in, a commitment to learning patience and careful progression, and leads to a result achieved through conscious effort, which is all the more rewarding.
However, the fact that consistency requires conscious effort and vigilance is somewhat of a con. Unlike motivation, which, most of the time, is involuntarily sparked by excitement, consistency is a deliberate decision derived from rational thinking. Consistency is boring. But it does pay off.
Why Motivation Alone is Not Enough
And so, taking all of the above into account, perhaps you have a theory as to why motivation alone does not generally lead to fully realised goals and skills.
Motivation alone is too inconsistent to reach long-term aims. Some days it just doesn’t show up! That is when consistency comes in. Consistency, and the habits that bloom from it, are like a failsafe. It ensures that you get back on the bike even when you don’t feel like it.
What is true is that consistency doesn’t have much of a place without motivation either. Indeed, without the initial motivation to do something, consistency, pertaining to whatever journey you would be going on, would not need to be deployed.
Therefore, for goals to be reached, consistency and motivation are very important. So, when thinking about getting yourself to a destination, or at a time when you need your colleagues to reach for something, don’t just concern yourself with motivation. Motivation may be the fine young filly that people are most drawn to, but never forget or underestimate the solid old workhorse that is consistency.
By Chris Thomson
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