A while ago I wrote on Medium why “wanting it enough” does not predict success. Here’s exactly what I wrote:
“If you really wanted to lose weight, then you’d go on a diet.”
“If you wanted to quit your job so badly, then you’d have already found a way to make it happen.”
And on and on it goes.
It makes sense of course. The more you want something, the more you are going to try to get it. The more you will persevere. The harder you will work for it.
But here’s the deal: Life is not just black and white. There is also grey. Like a lot of grey.
Telling someone they don’t want enough to change their life for the better might be accurate, but more often than not, it might be a lie that just seems…plausible.Let’s take people with heart disease and have bypass surgery as an example. You’d think that after this traumatic experience, they’d really want to change their habits and live healthier.
Yet, according to Dr. Miller of John Hopkins University, two years later 90% of surgery survivors still haven’t changed their lifestyle.
They keep doing the exact same things that caused the heart disease in the first place.
Do 90% of the people that have undergone surgery don’t want enough to…live? Don’t they want it enough to change their lifestyle and eat better and exercise more?
I believe that they want it. A lot.
But sometimes how much you want something is not related to success. You might succeed, or you might fail. Yet, if you fail, it’s only unfair to accuse yourself by saying “if you really wanted this enough…”
So if motivation is not the answer, then what is it? What does it really take to succeed, to lose the weight and keep it off, to get a better job, or make your company a success?
I believe the key lies in the process of getting to your goal and how well it fits you. No matter how much you want to succeed, if the process, the road-map, is not a good fit, then you are doomed to fail.
(People in the start-up world like talking about the value of getting to product-market fit. I am talking about getting to person-process fit.)
For instance, if you believe that in order to live healthier you need to start exercising 5 hours every week, starting tomorrow…Yet, currently even the thought of exercise scares you…Then, no matter how good your intentions are, you are probably setting up yourself for failure.
This road-map is not sensible…for you. It’s not a good fit.
But what if your road-map had said something different? For example: “Yes, you need to exercise 5 hours every week, but you don’t need to get there tomorrow. Tomorrow you can start with 30 seconds of static marching in front of the TV.”
Then, maybe, this process would have worked better for you.
Now, say you are someone who already sort of exercises, but decides to get more serious about it. You do like to exercise and feel ready to take it to the next level.
The process of exercising 5 hours a week starting tomorrow, might actually work for you. It might indeed be a good fit.
So the same process might be good for someone, but bad for someone else. There is no magical process that works for everyone. You will succeed as long as you find a process that is a good fit to you.
Now I didn’t say that finding a process that works for you is easy. Start-up founders go through a lot to get to product-market fit. Similarly, finding your own person-process fit requires quite a bit of research. Yet, the right process will get you to success. Isn’t this what you want?
So please, think again before you accuse yourself for not “wanting something enough”. Instead, think about the process you had in mind to get to your goal, and then ask: “Was this process a good fit for me?
Next time you get tricked into thinking you need to stick more thin people on your fridge to keep your diet, or that you need a trainer to yell at you to show up for your workout, I encourage you to review the process you have chosen for yourself.
Was this diet or workout program that you picked a good idea for YOU in particular? Or, did you mindless got started with what you thought you should do, but never really thought about whether it was a good fit for you or not?
Most people who think they need more motivation, they think there’s something wrong with them. If only they were different. If only there were more motivated. If only they were more like some other people…then, they would be happier.
But there is nothing wrong with you.
Instead of trying to change yourself to fit the process you picked, change the process to fit yourself.
And that’s the recipe to success. This is how you’ll both get to your goal and also feel like it was smooth sailing.
Now I am not saying that getting to your “person-process fit” is easy. It might need quite a few experiments of trying things that don’t work, to actually find what works.
But know that there is a right process for you and that you will find it. It might not happen overnight but it will happen.
You don’t need more motivation to keep going – You just need to find your own person-process fit.
Photo Credit: stevendepolo