Achievement motivated individuals have a strong desire to accomplish something important, and gain gratification from success in demanding tasks. Consequently they are willing to expend intense effort over long timespans in the pursuit of their goals.
Failure-avoiding individuals are more focused on protecting themselves from the embarrassment and sense of incompetence that can accompany failing at a valued task. Consequently they are less likely to attempt achievement-oriented tasks, and may give up quickly if success is not readily forthcoming. Where total avoidance of tasks is not possible, failure-avoiding individuals may procrastinate, give less than their best effort, or engage in other self-handicapping behaviour that provides a face-saving excuse in the event of failure …
1. Success is your personal responsibility
Achievement motivated individuals tend to believe that initiative, effort, and persistence are key determinants of success at demanding tasks. Failure-avoiding individuals are more likely to view success as dependent on available resources and situational constraints (e.g. the task is too hard, or the marker was biased).
2. Demanding tasks are opportunities
Achievement motivated individuals tend to see demanding tasks where success is uncertain as ‘challenges’ or ‘opportunities’. Failure avoiding individuals are more likely to see them as ‘threats’ that may lead to the embarrassment of failure. An achievement motivated individual might tell a failure avoiding individual, “Anything worthwhile is difficult, so stop acting so surprised”.
3. Achievement striving is enjoyable
Achievement motivated individuals associate effort on demanding tasks with dedication, concentration, commitment and involvement. Failure-avoiding individuals categorise such effort as overloading or stressful. They see perseverance in the face of setbacks and obstacles as slightly compulsive.
4. Achievement striving is valuable
Achievement motivated individuals value hard work in and of itself. Failure-avoiding individuals may mock achievement striving as uncool (e.g. the attitude that the L on learner plates stands for Loser). They may associate achievement striving with lack of a social life or even early death by heart attack.
5. Skills can be improved
Achievement-motivated individuals have a strong belief that they can improve their performance on demanding tasks with practice, training, coaching, and dedication to learning. Failure-avoiding individuals tend to see skills as fixed and/or dependent on innate talents.
6. Persistence works
Achievement motivated individuals are inclined to believe that continued effort and commitment will overcome initial obstacles or failures. Failure-avoiding individuals are inclined to see initial failure as a sign of things to come.
Once you understand the modes of achievement motivated versus failure-avoiding thinking, you will recognize them in the way that others talk about their goals, dreams, successes, and setbacks. You will also recognize them in your own thinking, and you can choose to cultivate the beliefs that will support you to achieve your goals. This is more effective than just trying to think positive and relying on the law of attraction to provide you with what you want.