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When it comes to motivation, there is a grounded and well supported theory that there are two main drivers; the Need for Achievement and the Need to Avoid Failure.

This applies to many facets of life and is not bound to a single person, as factors like environment, task demands, skill/level and confidence will all play a part in determining someones motivation. 

For example, I am fine with writing this blog whereas some might find a task such as this daunting. Ask me to cook and I am Avoiding Failure by any means necessary.

Is it edible? Yes?
You're welcome, after all 50% is still a pass right?

Let's put this in a grappling context.

Say I am rolling with a 100kg black belt. 
Now if I was to subscribe to the Need Achievement school I would see this as a challenge and an opportunity in which the positives vastly outweigh the negatives.
"Oh man, what if I pass his/her guard?? What if I don't get subbed??"

If I was a person Avoiding Failure it'd be a bit more like this....

As you can see they are massively different and have been scientifically proven to have equally differing outcomes.

Those who seek achievement are determined and positive which is a winning formula.
And those who avoid have the best case scenario of doing just that. 

I mean, how can you truly succeed if your winning standard is just scraping by?


Granted this has been a crash course in a highly contentious topic, however, some take home messages would be:

  • Seek difficult rolls such as a belt above yourself.
  • Use failure as a means to define where you need to work and not to define your self.
  • Find your balance between Needing Achievement and Avoiding Failure, as constantly expecting the best from yourself can result in burnout.

The highs will always outshine the lows if you are chasing them.
If your best case scenario is a passing grade you will never reach your full potential.

And ask yourself, which one are you?

- Jake Anderson

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