Most people think their success in anything depends on intelligence, background, connections, education, age, circumstances, or the economy. And we tend to use outside forces to justify lethargy, cowardice, fear, and failure. When I was in the army, I learnt that attitude was the final deciding factor. I learnt the same in my marriage and in business. But what determines your attitude? What allows some to break through formidable barriers and soar to great heights, in spite of their background or circumstances, while others frizzle up and float away like autumn leaves?

Years ago, I was on a trip where I had to do a presentation the following morning at a massive hair show. A friend and client of mine, Gary, was one of the hairdressers there. He had huge financial and marriage troubles at the time and he had a hangover to beat the band, but I could hear him right through the hotel room wall (this was a brick wall, not the usual cardboard) signing James Brown’s hit song, “I feel good” on the top of his voice, psyching himself up for his presentation. Gary took control of his life and his emotions and managed his ML. He was truly unstoppable. He didn’t let his feelings or his circumstances get in the way of his choices.

What is your “ML”? It’s your Motivation Level. One means, “I don’t care – give me another cigarette and leave me be.” Ten means, “I will walk naked over broken glass with my hair on fire and an angry puff adder on my shoulder – whatever it takes.” It’s the passion meter. It’s “How badly do you want to win?” Die trying or give up after the first round and go get another beer? Your level of motivation will ultimately determine what you achieve in every single endeavour. You either believe you’re unstoppable or you’re easy to stop. You either think like Mohammad Ali or taking you down will be easy.

How can you increase your ML? Seven simple ways:

1. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.
2. Find strong, successful mentors.
3. Build a support system and team of committed and motivated people who share your values.
4. Have clearly defined, written goals that are all congruent.
5. Be flexible in the process, but not on the prize. In other words, you can change the way you achieve your goals, but you don’t give up on your goals.
6. Have role models and study and emulate them; do what they do. Hopefully, they are also your mentors, but you can include great people like Churchill.
7. Work hard, consistently, and smart.

Robin Elliott LeverageAdvantage.com