I’m back again writing another article based on the wisdom I’ve gained from Jeff Haden’s amazing book, “The Motivation Myth.” If you missed my previous article, you can read it here.
This concept is not a new or revolutionary one, but it still strikes me as important given our world today.
Haden reminds us that there are no shortcuts to success. These days, we’re all obsessed with “hacks,” those tiny tricks to make life and work easier. These little gimmicks tell us we can reduce the time and effort it takes to achieve our goals by doing one ridiculously simple thing.
But, according to the author, there is no way to shortcut complex things, like learning a new skill or achieving a large goal. There is no substitute for time and effort. “Hacks” only work for simple tasks. Need an easy trick to organize your workspace fast? No problem. But you can’t rely on that kind of thing when your goal is to achieve a promotion or master a new software system.
So many of us are impatient—I know I am! And we all want things to be easy. After all, we have a lot on our plates and only so much time, energy and attention to distribute around.
When it comes to achieving goals, we have to be careful about these natural tendencies. Impatience, to a certain degree, can help light a fire under us. And of course, we want to use our resources wisely. But these feelings can also be counterproductive.
We have to be realistic about how long things will take, and we have to be honest about the effort required. We can’t buy into the idea that there’s a way to cheat the system. There isn’t. Believing some secret passageway exists and all we have to do is find it will only set us up for disappointment.
Instead, we have to simply acknowledge what’s really required; face it and don’t be afraid.
In reality, hard work is what makes achieving a goal so satisfying. It’s also what creates motivation. If it’s too easy, why bother? There’s no glory in achieving something that anyone do with a simple “hack.”
Give yourself permission to go slow and steady when working toward your goals. Don’t compare your pace to that of others. Put in the effort and time and you will get there.
I’m currently in the process of writing my next book. Since I’ve written one before, I figured this one would be a snap. However, I think writing a book is like having a baby—you tend to forget the pain once it’s over. Now that I’m back at it, I realize that I’ve been unrealistic about what I could expect. And as a result, my motivation began to dwindle.
Now, I’m trying my best to simply look at it head on. I know it’s going to take time (probably more than I originally planned for) and I know it’s going to be a lot of mental anguish. That’s pretty much unavoidable. But now that I’m living in reality, I’m getting into a good groove. I’m not rushing myself or beating myself up. I’m just doing the work, one day at a time, knowing I’ll get to the finish line eventually.
I encourage you to look at your goals and do a little self-reflection. Are you trying to cut corners somewhere? Do you have unrealistic expectations about timing and effort? Are you looking around for some kind of magic potion to make it easier and faster?
If so, it’s time to take a step back and remind yourself that the easiest, fastest way to success is through consistent hard work.