Today on ABC’s This Week, Speaker of the House John Boehner spoke very powerful words about himself. They reveal his motivation. And it’s very encouraging.
“I’m a reasonable guy. But I didn’t come to Washington to be a congressman. I came to do something for my country.”
Write that down. That statement echos.
Research shows that people motivated by doing, by getting better, by learning, will work harder and stay truer to their principles than people motivated by demonstrating how good they are–being something.
When you are focused on getting better, rather than on being good, you benefit in two very important ways. First, when things get tough— when you are faced with complexity, time pressure, obstacles, or unexpected challenges— you don’t get so discouraged. You’re more likely to believe you can still do well if you just keep trying. Second, when you do start to have doubts about how well you are doing, you are more likely to stay motivated anyway. Because even if you think succeeding will be difficult for you, you can still learn. Improvement is still possible. You can still get better. So when a task is difficult, and persistence is the key to higher achievement, get-better mastery goals have the clear advantage.
From Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals by Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson I was surprised that Boehner stuck to his guns last week. I expected him to fold.
If I’d know that his motivation is “to do something for my country” instead of “be a congressman,” I wouldn’t have been surprised by his remarkable steadfastness.
As we head into another election year, pay attention to candidates’ motivation for running.
Ask “why are you running?”
If they say, “I want to be” something, walk away.
If they say, “I want to do” something, keep talking.