Three Essential Ingredients to Getting What You Want

We all have something we want in life. The problem, of course, is in getting what we want. It may be difficult, especially for things which are important for us. The journey to getting what we want is often long and painful.

I believe there are three essential ingredients we should have if we are to get what we want. If we lack even one of them, it is unlikely that we will succeed. Ask yourself which one you lack the most among these three, and give special attention to that area.

Here are the three essential ingredients to getting what you want:

1. Strong motivation

Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things.
Randy Pausch

You should have a strong answer of why you want something in the first place. Without a strong answer of why, you won’t have strong motivation. And without strong motivation, there is no way you can overcome the challenges you are going to face.

Here are some tips to improve your motivation:

  • Find your mission in life. You need a bigger why than the challenges you face, and a life mission can give you that.
  • Always follow your heart. That’s the best source of motivation. It’s impossible to motivate yourself in the long term without following your heart.

2. Persistence

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
Winston Churchill

Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure.
Thomas J Watson

There is no way you can succeed without first facing a bunch of failures. So, to succeed, continual effort is key. Whenever you fail, rise and try again. Keep on trying until you succeed. Strong motivation (#1) plays an important role here.

Here are some tips to stay persistent:

  • Have the right mindset that success doesn’t come easily; it requires hard pushes. Expect challenges along the way.
  • Always remind yourself of the why. A greater why will give you the strength to overcome challenges.

3. Willingness to learn and change the approach

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Albert Einstein

While it’s true that you should always try and try again when you fail, it is useless if you just use the same approach. You must change your approach if you expect different result. I’ve seen many instances in which people fail and keep on trying without changing their approach. The result, no wonder, is zero.

Here are some tips to improve your ability to learn and change:

  • Measure what you do to know exactly where your position is. It gives you feedback on how good you do things.
  • From the feedback, identify areas you want to improve.
  • Find some role models in the areas you want to improve.
  • Observe carefully how they do it. What are the things they do that you do not? Try to find some patterns.
  • From the patterns, list some actionable items you can do to improve yourself.


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  2. Great succinct post.

    I agree with all three ingredients. I would also like to re-iterate Changing Approach. A common skill amongst successful people is know when to take risks and change approach, with the end result in mind. Quite often you don’t get want you want because you go so far down the line with a particular approach you can’t afford (money, time,..) to change.


  3. Change is the only constant. Changing of strategies is necessary toward achieving success.

  4. Andrew,
    I agree that’s a common skill of successful people. They have a clear goal in mind, but they are always flexible with their approach to reach that goal.

    SK Wong,
    Yes, changing is the only constant. Unfortunately, inertia often comes into play which make it difficult to change.

  5. I agree with SK Wong, and GreatManagement that the key differentiator is actually in the last ingredient. Most people expect to achieve their goals on the first effort,and lose heart when they don’t.

    Successful people take these temporary defeats as feedbacks, adjust their plan, and execute again. This goes on until they’re successful.

    Donald, great thoughts. Maybe a post on how to handle failures will be a good follow-up?

  6. Lawrence,
    A post on handling failures is a great idea, though I’m still not sure when I will accumulate enough “wisdom” to write it 🙂 Thanks!

  7. […] Donald Larumahina escribe en su web ( un interesante artículo sobre los que, según el, son los ingredientes esenciales para conseguir uno mismo lo que se proponga. Ahí vamos:  […]

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