Happy people plan actions, they do not plan results.

Denis Waitley

In the early seventies, the American sociologist Edward Banfield described in a book (The Unheavenly City: The Nature and Future of Our Urban Crisis) the results of a large study that focused on personal success. The aim of his research was ambitious. Banfield wanted to know why some people become free with fortune while others remained penniless for a lifetime.

As a good sociologist, Banfield made several assumptions about the social context of these individuals that led to financial success. Among these, he noted the family, level of education and opinion of leaders who he knew became rich. Imagine his surprise when he discovered that beyond all these factors, a personal attitude weighed much more heavily in the balance of success: the ability to act on a long-term plan!

According to Banfield’s studies, the people most likely to succeed in their goals and become wealthy were those who paid attention to their future. At each stage of their actions and daily decisions, they thought of their future. So they acted so as to realize their dreams through their vision and goals.

The findings of this sociologist are very interesting because they illustrate once again the relationship that exists between what we do in the present and the results we obtain in the future. For great results, it takes time. We need to focus more time on achieving goals in the course of time; and how these goals can be important!

Rome was not built in a day, they say. You will notice also that the people we respect the most in society, those who got the most impressive results, usually have long maintained a certain vision of what they wanted and worked on it for many years.

Why Is It So Hard to Get Motivated?

There are two main forces that drive the majority of our behavior. It is the pursuit of pleasure and the desire to avoid anything that makes us suffer. These forces affect our choices, our actions, our thoughts and thus, our motivation. And motivation is indeed what everything else is based on! But first, what is motivation?

Contrary to popular belief, motivation is not necessarily to do something constructive. The fact is we’re motivated every day to do a lot of things. Some are constructive, while others aren’t at all. We always do something.

Even a person who spends most of his time sitting in his chair watching television and smoking cigarettes is motivated to do this rather than something else. Motivation is the mobilization of our energy and our attention towards a particular direction. And what makes us choose the direction? What we believe brings us pleasure or pain!

Each belief that guides our motivation involves a set of further beliefs. If you are motivated to eat junk food and sit all day, it is because you believe that this attitude gives you pleasure. On the other hand, you ignore the likelihood that this lifestyle can make you suffer a lot one day.

Do you find that you often miss the motivation to do constructive things that would improve your life? If so, you must work to change your beliefs; that is to say, the meaning you give to things related to pleasure or pain they bring you. Every action you do every day builds your life or, conversely, helps to destroy it. Remember, you have real power over your life as long as you take responsibility for the results you get.