It’s a fact of life that people continuously fail to act on their potential. This is not limited to seemingly failed or chronically lazy individuals — I believe we all carry unrealized, big potential. Schools teach facts, procedures and how to complete pre-arranged tasks but seldom dwell on the mental tools to reach major goals not shaped as a curriculum. It may take years of concerted effort to reach major goals — but they are still possible to reach. If the motivation to complete such a long-term effort is missing, such motivation can be acquired. It took me years to discover these seemingly basic insights. Now I consider them among my core strengths.
One way forward is using the vast materials of motivational speeches and books out there. Some may find them cheesy or cliche but I see them as training of the mind, regardless of being cliche or not. Whatever goal you choose and whatever your area of expertise, there are thought patterns that improve your chances to reach your goal. I recommend the book The 8 traits successful people have in common by Richard St. John. The author interviewed five hundred people that are successful in their profession and assembled their quotes into a book, sorted by eight common themes. He presents the material in a factual and humble way, using repetition and the authority of the celebrities to drive his point home.
This video clip gives an succint overview of the book and introduces the style of the author:
Ambition can achieve wonders, if you give it the chance.