Thinking about why people with a similar potential are more successful than others led me to the conclusion that to be successful we have to be on the right bus. And if we are on the right bus, we are by definition the ‘right’ person to be on that bus.
Let me explain… Our metaphorical bus could be a department, a project, a start-up, a challenge. The most important consideration is that we are where we need to be at any time to meet the beliefs we have about our capabilities.
Because what differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people? We could say that in general, successful people have developed the habit of doing things that unsuccessful people do not do. So, to improve productivity managers will logically focus on formenting those good work habits which lead to the activities that produce the desired results. But habits are what we see on the outside. We often ignore the root, we ignore what influences us to engage in activities and form habits that produce good results and ultimately success. And the most powerful influence without doubt is the mind.
The real chain of events which leads to success is:
thought – feeling – activity – habits – results = SUCCESS
A thought must first be accepted by the mind. It will then generate a feeling that will inspire action. If the original thought and feeling is maintained, this will lead to the action being repeated, forming a habit which inevitable gives a result. If the habits formed are good habits leading to a logical good result, we have success.
What determines our willingness to perform tasks? It is the answer to two questions.
The first question is: do I think I will succeed? If we do not think we will succeed, we simple will not try. We will not expend the effort to do something that we believe is impossible for us. We won’t even be open to training because we believe we can’t do it. In effect we sabotage ourselves. However, if we believe we can, we feel positive about learning new skills because we feel we have the potential to acquire those skills; we will feel excited, motivated and we will act in a way that prompts us to undertake the activity.
The second question is: Where do I see the value to me in doing this task? And by ‘value’ we are not talking about monetary value but about the value to our self-esteem. All of us seek self-esteem, it’s what motivates us in our choice of what we do and how we behave. We will engage in any action long enough for it to become a habit as long as it feeds our self-esteem
For example, if we see a task as being a challenge that stretches us, we will embrace it and continue to do it as we see ourselves improving, the action becomes a habit and our self-esteem is satisfied. Conversely, if we feel a task or activity is beneath our capabilities and our view of what we are worth, we will be loath to do the task as we believe we are worth more – our self- esteem in this case is dented and if we do the task at all we will do it half heartedly.
Finding the right person for the right bus then is not simply about matching competencies and potential to job descriptions. Attention to how an individual views him or herself, what is going on in their mind is fundamental. How much attention do we give to what is going on in our mind or the mind of our team members who are indispensable to the success of a work project?
Without a doubt, finding activities that satisfy our view of our capabilities and which at the same time satisfy the drive of our self-esteem is the key to a bus that never breaks down.