How Your Achievement Drive Can Propel You to New Heights

Posted in Insights, Motivational, News

Did you know that your achievement drive can significantly influence your success? Studies show a strong correlation between success and achievement drive, which often fuels the other. Imagine what you could accomplish with a growth mindset and a powerful drive to reach your goals. 

Unlocking Success: The Power of Achievement Drive and a Growth Mindset

"Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it." – Margaret Thatcher

Marshall Connects article, How Your Achievement Drive Can Propel You to New HeightsSuccess in any field rarely results from chance; a relentless determination and a clear focus on goals often drive it. Your drive to achieve is a powerful force that can propel you forward, overcome obstacles, and inspire others around you. But what exactly fuels this drive, and how does it shape your path to success?

In this blog, we will explore the critical role a strong drive to achieve plays in reaching your professional and personal goals. We’ll outline the psychological and behavioural traits that underpin a high achiever's mindset, how ambition and perseverance can open doors, and practical strategies to cultivate and sustain this drive.

What Does Achievement Drive Mean?

"Achievement drive, also known as the drive for achievement or drive to achieve, refers to an individual's intrinsic motivation and determination to accomplish goals, meet certain standards of excellence, and strive for success. It encompasses a desire to improve performance, attain mastery, and achieve personal and professional objectives. People with a high achievement drive are often characterized by their persistence, ambition, and willingness to put in the necessary effort to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals." - Linda Marshall

Why Do Some Individuals Have A Higher Achievement Drive?

Now that you know that a higher achievement drive is often linked to more success, you’re probably wondering what makes some people have a higher drive to achieve than others. We’ll get to that soon. But first, it’s important to acknowledge why we need to know what makes a person more likely to succeed. If you understand the factors that can boost your drive to achieve, you can take control and use these factors to your advantage! 

These are just a few of the things that can influence your achievement drive:

  • Parents who encouraged independence in childhood.
  • Receiving praise and rewards for success.
  • Association of achievement with positive feelings.
  • Association of achievement with one’s competence and effort, not luck.
  • Desire to be effective and face challenges.
  • Interpersonal strength and resilience.
  • Perception of one's goals as desirable.
  • Belief in the feasibility of achieving set goals.
  • Strong goal-setting abilities and planning skills.

While you may not be able to go back and change how your parents raised you, you have control over many of these factors. For example, you can adjust your mindset and work on your goal-setting abilities, which will ultimately help you achieve your goals. If you're interested in positively impacting your child’s achievement drive, read Simple Ways to Instill Achievement Drive in Children.

What Psychological And Behavioural Traits Underpin A High Achiever's Mindset?

High achievers possess distinct psychological and behavioural traits that set them apart. These traits help them navigate challenges, maintain focus, and drive toward their goals. Here are some key characteristics that underpin a high achiever’s mindset:

  • Intrinsic Motivation: High achievers are driven by internal rewards such as personal satisfaction and the pursuit of excellence rather than external rewards like money or recognition.
  • Goal Orientation: They set clear, ambitious, and achievable goals, giving them direction and a sense of purpose.
  • Resilience: High achievers can bounce back from setbacks and failures. They view challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Self-Discipline: They exhibit strong self-control and the ability to stay focused on long-term goals, resisting distractions and short-term temptations.
  • Growth Mindset: They believe in their capacity to improve and develop through effort and learning. This mindset encourages continuous personal and professional development.
  • High Self-Efficacy: High achievers strongly believe in their ability to succeed. This confidence motivates them to take on challenging tasks and persevere.
  • Time Management Skills: They are adept at managing time efficiently, prioritizing tasks, and avoiding procrastination.
  • Proactive Attitude: High achievers take initiative and act rather than waiting for opportunities to come their way. They are forward-thinking and always looking for ways to advance.
  • Optimism: They maintain a positive outlook, which helps them stay motivated and persistent even in the face of adversity.
  • Attention to Detail: High achievers pay close attention to details and strive for excellence in their work, often setting their performance apart.
  • Passion and Enthusiasm: They are passionate about what they do, which fuels their dedication and hard work.
  • Effective Communication Skills: They can articulate their ideas clearly, listen actively, and build strong relationships, which is crucial for collaboration and influence.
  • Adaptability: High achievers can adapt to changing circumstances and are open to new ideas and approaches.
By cultivating these psychological and behavioural traits, individuals can develop a high achiever’s mindset and enhance their potential for success in various aspects of life.

What Influences You To Achieve Your Goals?

It’s your desire that influences you to achieve your goals. 

For more than 20 years, David McClelland researched achievement at Harvard University and found that the need for achievement is a distinct human motive that can be distinguished from other needs. McClelland advised that people with a high need for achievement behave like this only if they can influence the outcome. He explains that they aren’t gamblers - they prefer to work on the problem rather than leave the outcome to chance. McClelland explains, "Achievement–motivated people take the middle ground, preferring a moderate degree of risk because they feel their efforts and abilities will probably influence the outcome. In business, this aggressive realism is the mark of the successful entrepreneur."

The intricate relationship between ambition and achievement is evident. We can learn to harness our inner drive to maximize our potential and succeed. We can increase our emotional intelligence to improve our achievement drive. Adjusting our mindset supports our goals, which drives our success. I discuss this topic in my book, The Power of Emotion, in chapter sixteen, How Your Drive to Achieve Influences Success.

This article was originally published on June 17, 2017, and has been updated (May 2024).

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