Most Stakes Are High (365 Days of Spirited Living – DAY 197)
“A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.”
— Elbert Hubbard
Why is it that most of us are more likely to be on time for work or for an important job interview than an impromptu meeting with friends or family? Why do most of us tend to make some things like diet and exercise a matter of routine and other things just as rest and relaxation a haphazard decision?
Well, it turns out that naturally as human beings, we are more motivated to stick to something such as an exercise regime when we are aware of a long-term reward. We’re also more stimulated to commit to something like being on time for work consistently or not being late for a job interview when there is a consequence.
When there is a high stake involved, even if the consequence is a rewarding one, we will force ourselves to put more effort and time into it. We are less likely to want to lose out on a job opportunity or lose our job altogether and so we are influenced positively by the negative consequences. More often than not, you won’t lose a friend or upset a reasonable family member if you 10 minutes late to the weekend cookout.
Since the majority of the time, we are influenced more by negative outcomes than by positive ones, high stakes such as losing a good deal of money or a powerful job are powerful motivations to get ourselves in line. To ensure that you give your time over to that which is most important, you can ask yourself “how high are the stakes if I commit to this and don’t commit to that?”
Making a bet with yourself will keep you honest. It will help you evaluate where you are and what you need to do to get to where you want to go. Set a specific goal and let someone else you trust know so that person can hold you to it. When you don’t reach the goal, let your friend hand you a consequence for not succeeding — give away some of your money or give up something you really love for a day. Anything significant that will motivate you to get back on track.
Sharing your goal with someone else not only gives you support, but it helps to ensure your stakes are high enough to force change. The social pressure that comes with sharing your goals publicly affects your reputation and the negativity or embarrassment that can result from failure or defeat will push you to progress forward more than you think.
“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”
— Bill Bradley