Not in the clamour of the crowded street, Not in the solutes and plaudits of the throng, But in ourselves are triumph and defeat.
H. W. Longfellow (19c American poet and educator)
Achieving refers to our ability to meet challenges and complete tasks. We are all born with the motivation to do so, although some life experiences may weaken it.(1) To increase our mastery over it, what contributes to each stage of the process will be highlighted.
Choose a challenge
To get most out of this area chose a task that you will keep in mind while reading and apply what you have read to (e.g. passing a driving test, winning a game, climbing a mountain). Try to pick a task of the right size for you. A task that is too easy may not be challenging or interesting enough to bring much satisfaction; too difficult a task may undermine your confidence and motivation. This said, there are ways of making big challenges manageable.
Making big tasks manageable
- A big project can be broken into several smaller tasks that are tackled in turn – this can bring a sense of accomplishment sooner and so maintain motivation. Let’s say your project is to sail around the world: one task could be to learn to sail, the other to save money to buy a boat, the third getting sponsors, the fourth sailing itself. But this is not all.
- Each task may be broken further into sequences. For routine tasks it is better, if you can, to start with the hardest one while you still have a lot of energy (e.g. if you are going to clean the flat, start from the dirtiest room). For challenging tasks start with the easiest sequence – this will give you the confidence to tackle more difficult ones if successful, or a more realistic view of the project if you can’t complete even the easiest part.
Assuming that you have chosen what you want to achieve, let’s now turn to each stage of the process.