How to Effectively Generate Results in Any Field
Life is based on results. A lot of personal development is based on changing your perspective and working within your inner psychology, but your inner psychology is still based on results. Your ability to be grateful is a result. Your ability to be optimistic is a result. Even happiness is a result.
Theory vs Taking Action
Many people become absorbed in theory, like reading books and taking courses, but then fail to follow up with a proportionate amount of action. This goes for any area, not just personal development. We generally prefer learning new information because there is less emotional labour involved than going out there and doing the work.
If you want to build a business, it feels more comfortable to read everything you can about business first. This way, you’re better equipped to deal with the harsh market realities; there’s less risk of business failure. We use theory as a safety net; not much can go wrong from absorbing theory. We also aspire to cover every possible angle before starting to avoid surprises when trying it out in the real world.
The theory is important, especially in personal development, as you need to build a knowledge foundation. But many people make the mistake of thinking they’re progressing just because they’re learning a lot. If you’re not testing and applying the theory in your life, you cannot generate results. The process should be a small amount of knowledge followed by a small amount of action.
If you were building a piece of furniture from scratch, you wouldn’t read the instruction manual once, remember all the screws and nails needed, and then build the furniture in one go. Instead, you read the first step, find the correct screw, complete that part, and then go back to the manual to read the second instructions.
Sometimes it will be a small amount of knowledge followed by a lot of action. For example, if you can’t work out how one of the pieces fits in, it will take numerous attempts to figure out how the piece fits before you can move on to the next step.
The same applies to the rest of your life. Sometimes it takes many attempts of trying something before you can work out the best approach. You cannot learn everything from a book; sometimes, you have to use trial and error to find the best approach.
The reason why people want to learn everything before taking action is to avoid making mistakes. But no matter how many times you read the instruction manual before building the furniture, it’s not going to prevent you from making mistakes. You can only identify these issues once you start building.
Learning Quickly from Mistakes
People who are good at generating results aren’t necessarily more skilled or fail less than the average person, but they learn from their mistakes rapidly. Not effectively learning from your mistakes will cause you to continue making the same mistakes for months or years.
For example, if you’ve attempted to quit smoking ten times but fall off track after a month every time, there is something wrong with the approach you’re taking. Learning quickly from your mistakes would mean that, after the first failure, you can analyse what went wrong and what you can try differently next time after the first failure.
If you had quickly figured out what went wrong, you could save yourself from 9 months of failure, just by becoming quicker at learning from your mistakes. Failure to adapt and change will sabotage your chances of being a good results maker. In this case, you’re spending almost a year trying to achieve a result that you could have achieved in 2 months.
Most people are notoriously bad at switching approach when things aren’t working. It seems logical that if we want to make a change and see the current method isn’t working, we should be quick to look at alternative solutions.
But people are rarely conscious of this. Laziness, procrastination and resistance to change are all factors that prevent us from identifying these changes quickly. They are the same reasons that keep us stuck learning theory rather than taking action.
If you can see something isn’t working, sometimes it requires you to go back to your instruction manual and reassess your approach. It’s important to note that there’s an art in knowing when to persevere and when to reconsider the strategy you’re using. Understanding when to change approach is something that you develop an intuition for.
The type of motivation you have for a project or task will determine how effective you are at producing results. If you’re negatively motivated, the further you move away from the starting point, the less motivated you become.
Because of this, many people experience results at an extremely slow pace or sometimes never at all. An example of negative motivation is losing weight because you dislike your appearance.
As you start exercising, your appearance improves, and you no longer dislike it so much. Since you’re more content with your appearance, you’re now less motivated to work out than you were initially. There’s no goal that you’re working towards achieving; this leads to complacency and mediocre results. Sacrifices like going to the gym and eating healthily no longer seem worth it. On the other hand, being positively motivated means becoming more motivated as you move closer to attaining the goal. For example, a positive motivation could be losing weight because you want to develop a more defined physique.
When you start seeing your physique improving, this encourages you to continue working hard because you can see the benefits. Every time you go to the gym or eat healthily, that’s one step closer to the goal.
Someone that is positively motivated is driven by the desire to see a result. They’re much more effective at generating results because they set the result as their number one priority.
Whereas someone that is negatively motivated isn’t results-oriented, they are only concerned with reducing pain or discomfort from their current situation. Sometimes they might get some results, but their priority is to alleviate some kind of problem or dysfunction.
By definition, this is still a result, but it’s not very inspiring, and it doesn’t allow you to tap into the type of results you’d ideally like to get. There will be times when you have to grind out results; you won’t be positively motivated for every activity. But once you’re in the habit of generating results, it unlocks huge potential across all tasks.
How Motivation Can Deceive You
Negative motivation can be deceptive as it initially feels like a strong form of motivation. It’s easy to become disillusioned by this. In the example of someone trying to quit smoking, they momentarily feel very motivated to make this change stick every time they try again to stop smoking. After a couple of weeks, the motivation starts to fade, and they eventually fall back into their old ways.
The next time they try to quit, they have a new surge of motivation, so they don’t think about what caused the failure last time. This person feels that this time will be different; they’re feeling optimistic about succeeding this time around. Unfortunately, this never turns out to be true. Once the initial motivation wears off, you're in the same position as you were the previous times.
When you are motivated positively, you’re much more grounded in your approach. Naturally, because the goal means more to you, you’re more cautious about avoiding pitfalls that can get in the way of your results. Whereas a negative motivation urges people to act suddenly, they don’t have time to properly assess the pitfalls because they’re in a rush to escape their situation.
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