How do high achievers really think?

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Who are the high performers? How do top performers think? 

Often, they are individuals with a growth mindset and a strong sense of responsibility to achieve what they put their mind to. Loyal to their life purpose and life strategy, they take the initiative and work for success with persistence. The efforts high performers are willing to make over a long time to achieve their goals are greater than what an average individual would take on. 

If we’re talking about high achievers, it’s natural to bring up the achievement orientation versus failure avoidance debate. Contrary to top performers, individuals who avoid failure, often do so because they’re embarrassed by the possibility of failing. It’s not that they’re less talented or less capable of putting forward the same effort as their more successful peers, but their mindset limits them to do so. 

How to cross over from a failure avoiding individual and become a high achiever? We need to start by understanding what they do and why. Here are some of the enablers to high performance. 

  • Mindset, 
  • self-awareness 
  • ownership/personal responsibility 
  • autonomy 
  • resilience 
  • adaptability, and 
  • grit 

By looking at this list, I can already hear you say that you already possess these as well. Which may very well be. The difference is not in the WHAT but it is in the HOW. Let me share with you more on some of the enablers. 

1. Personal responsibility

High achievers believe one needs to master the growth mindset, initiative and persistence, and be ready to make a great deal of effort because these are key to unlocking success. 

It is our responsibilityto go out and get what we want. It is easier said than done. 

One can as easily be entrapped in a limiting environment, surrounded by barriers and non-believers. Truth to be told, most of us live a life like that.  

In an ideal world, our parents are supportive of all our decisions, there are no envious frenemies nearby, and things work out exactly as we planned. This utopia may sound good, but I guarantee it would become boring after a few months at least. 

Challenges are to make us stronger; this is how top performers think. Difficulties are to sharpen our minds, and it is through trials that we become happier as strange as it may sound. The sense of achievement, the win that you own because you take responsibility for success. It is true, you take responsibility for mistakes as well, but mistakes are there for you to teach you how to steer clear next time. 

Individuals who have a history of avoiding failure tend to blame their static state on situations and resources instead of trying to change something about it. Fear does not only increase the distance between these people and success, but it also rips them off of their control over their lives. Because responsibility means increased power as well because you believe you can positively impact your environment, and through that, you develop and get better results; it means you believe in your opportunity for growth. 

2. High Profile Tasks as Opportunities

opportunity for growth ​open door

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

So, how do top performers think

When high achieving individuals assess a task, they think of it as a great opportunity, a challenge they must overcome while understanding and mitigating the associated risks, instead of steering away from them. Therefore, they take the initiative and work through the tasks with persistence. Their focus is on the sweet taste of victory, and they don’t think that failure is an option. There is either no plan B or Plan B is there to support Plan A. 

To others, those tasks may appear to be a threat of sorts; a path that will lead to embarrassment in public. Thinking there is no Plan B, might terrify those people as failure avoidance is violently battling their desires for a better future in the back of their minds.    

Growth is a desire up until the point you are ready to act on it and choose to mitigate risk instead of paralyzing yourself. Risk mitigation might include risk avoidance, no doubt, it is though just one option. If you are to set foot on the path to growth and ready to open your mind to the spirit of growth mindset, you will look at avoidance as one option, instead of being the only option you have. 

3. Effort is Enjoyable

To high performers, the effort is delight. They love the concentration and dedication needed to complete a demanding task and thrive on the commitment. Are they agelasts only finding enjoyment in work or in winning? Not at all. If you think, it is not testing their abilities or a challenge is a walk in the park to them, think again. If you think they live for the fight, even though some might do so, hold your horses and judgment just for a little longer. 

The joy of effort is in progress, it is in the results; it is in the excitement of getting closer to what they want. The clarity around the desired future is so great as if they could taste it, therefore while working towards the goal, even despite difficulties, they don’t lose sight of the destination. The effort takes them to their next milestone, and then they know how many more stages they need to pass. Even if there are detours, they know the route and minimize the detours. 

To failure avoiding individuals, any extra effort may also be a stress factor and source of misery. They think of the setbacks associated with those tasks and back out before trying. 

4. Improving Skills

improve skills and master the growth mindset

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Adaptability is about learning and embedding the lessons into the every-day living. Top performers believe skills are polished over time and that any task can be accomplished with the right knowledge and skills. 

Naturally, we are not talented in everything, and not all of us will become famous pianists. I know I won’t be. But I also know I can master it if I put my mind to it and practice a lot. I decide to do so or to allocate my time and resources to something else. IT works the same for you as well. As long as one is dedicated to learning, the result will be a success.  

Individuals with fear of failure believe that skills are an innate talent, and you’re either good at something, or you are not, and no amount of practice can help you achieve otherwise. 

5. Persistence

No matter how many setbacks you have or the number of obstacles you face – as long as you continue to move forward, you will achieve your dreams. Or such is the mindset of top performers, while people who avoid failures see only mistakes as signs of failure and with it the beginning of the end, if not the end itself. They end things before they can even start. 

It’s hard to say one mindset is right over another and judging helps no one and creates no better results. Some could put in all their efforts and still struggle, while others may do less, or so it seems, and achieve great heights. 

However, if we were to analyse high achievements all over the world, grit will always be among the enablers. 

Cover photo by Ine Carriquiry on Unsplash