In the brain salsa post Personal Development; How To Get Motivated Part IV meditation expert Cherie Miranda asked, “Is there a way for people to become more self aware, do you think?” And Mark Hogan (son of body language expert Kevin Hogan) asked “…even if you are aware you are falling behind, how can you keep a level of self discipline instilled in yourself so that you catch back up, or don’t fall behind in the first place?”
They remind of a question posed by the late Jim Rohn, “Who motivates the motivator?” One of the greatest questions I have ever heard and a question that I have grappled with and pondered for hundreds of hours. Why are some people self starters, disciplined, motivated and others not.
There was a study done by Stanford University that set out to pin point what makes a super achiever. They analyzed super achievers that had dramatically out paced others in their field to become the upper echelon of the upper echelon. They examined many aspects from culture, regions, nationality, race, childhood, education, etc.
The goal of the study was to find the key to becoming motivated, self disciplined and a super achiever. Though there were some things that were consistent in a segment or group of participants they really couldn’t come up with a universal list that could be applicable across the board with the exception of one.
Now before I reveal the one linking factor I want you to think about what that might be. Could it be a life changing event, education, the region you where born in, your parents’ financial status, teachers you had in college or grade school, something in your home life, etc. Now as you are contemplating what it is I want you to ask yourself, “What if I don’t have that?“ How will it affect your self concept?
I will tell you that if you don’t currently have this key catalyst to become a super achiever that it is too late to get it. Your opportunity to have it is gone and you had no way of influencing whether you got it or not – it is, by a great extent, a “luck of the draw” circumstance.
The most consistent factor in super achievers was an encouraging mother. And not just an encouraging mother but how she framed the encouragement and the age of the child when she did it. For example if a child says “Momma I am going to be a movie star when I grow up.” Which one of the three responses below do you think is the one that a super achiever heard?
1. “I think we all would like to be a movie star but you need to be realistic and now that it is highly unlikely you could be successful at that. You are too smart to be an actor you need to pick something else.”
2. “That’s great honey, I know that you could be a great movie star. I think you should go for it but also it is a good idea to have a second option incase the first one doesn’t work out.”
3. “I know that you will be a great movie star. You will work hard, focus on it and achieve it because you achieve everything you work hard and focus on.”
The answer is 3. In the early years of the child’s development a blindly encouraging mother was the most consistent factor (of the criteria monitored in the Stanford study) of people who are super achievers. It is also worth noting that for women a blindly encouraging father was also a very consistent trait.
Now if you didn’t have blindly encouraging parents – now what? The odds are that most of us had parents more on the line of 1 and 2. So does that mean you are doomed for mediocrity? How has your self concept been affected? What can you do as an adult to overcome less than blindly encouraging parents? We will examine these issues in the next post.