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What Makes You Tick?
Career Junction - Part 6

Photo by Mark Morgan

Photo by Mark Morgan

In the lifelong search for satisfying work, the journey into and through a successful career, many of us experience impediments along the way. Sometimes we blame our lack of success on these impediments; we see them as random roadblocks prohibiting our success, or assaults inspired by The Fates, intent on ruining our chances of secure and meaningful industry.

But is this really the case?

In the arena of occupation or career, it seems imperative that each worker answer the simple question: “What makes you tick?”

Is it possible that mental frameworks (belief systems) formed in us from childhood actually determine our level of success in the employment arena? Is it possible that the strongest determinant in our career path is not our education, not our opportunity, not our luck; rather, our attitude toward work. More specifically – our attitude toward personal success.

Have you noticed how successful families more often than not produce successful children? And those children in turn produce successful children, and on it goes? Now I’m not suggesting that this is the case 100% of the time. Of course not! You and I both know examples of children who overcame great odds inherited from their parents and went on to become great successes. Contrawise, there are examples of successful parents who were not able to pass on to their children the ingredients necessary to become successful themselves.

Nevertheless, in my experience the vast majority seem to turn out pretty much like their Mom’s and Dad’s. And it gives me pause. It makes me wonder if the magic ingredients (which maybe aren’t so magic) in this recipe, are the attitudes about ourselves formed by our families in the earliest years of our lives.

So, what makes you tick? That is, what is the guiding mantra that tells you deep inside your head that you either CAN or CANNOT do something? That force which sets aside your fears of failure and gives you a premonition of success? Or . . . that force which damns everything you are passionate about (in your head) before you even set your hand to the proverbial plow?

And once you find the answer to that question, another one follows on its heels? That is this: can it be changed?

No one who has the attitude of success would want to have that change occur! But what of those of us who tend toward the negative, the melancholy approach, the fatalistic one?

As I answer this question for myself I must honestly say that all my life I have been driven to find more TIME to do the things I want to do, rather than the things my family (initially), and then my job demanded I do. I wanted TIME: unfettered, unchallenged, free time to pursue my world on my own terms, i.e. not controlled by someone or something else.

“Immature,” you say? Perhaps. But that is not my point. Clearly, not all our motivations will fall in the category of excellence. Nevertheless, unless we know what motivates us, (i.e. what makes us tick) we will continue to fall into pits dug by the shovels of our own undoing, dismayed by our lack or success, and blaming it on external circumstances and other persons.

What makes you tick?

Where in your early years (and from whom) did you derive your attitude toward work, your attitude toward success, your attitude about yourself and the mark you can make in this world?

It’s worth a few quiet moments of your time. And it might be the insight that will open the door to a level of success you never dreamed possible.

[Much credit for these thoughts goes to Monica Benson, my sweet wife. Thank you, my dear.]