Reach success or avoid failure

Everybody wants to be successful, getting their effort paid off. We all make effort to do our things and overcome difficulties or obstacles. Our own expectations towards ourselves have significant effects on our life. Also important the driving force, a desire of reaching success or an avoidance of failure works strongly in us. To make an effort for good accomplishment and to reach success is a particular human characteristic. The recognition of accomplishment is a reward of our efforts. Sometimes we don’t even need confirmation about it from other people, since our own expectations towards ourselves move us. This internal force is the accomplishment motivation. Several factors influence and affect our accomplishment motivation in relation to reach a given goal. Affected by our own expectations towards ourselves, attributions of the current task, estimated probability of success or failure and attractive force of the goal.

To set ourselves an aim and our effort for it has two possible outcome: success or failure. If we surpass our acceptance we can register success but if we underperform we are failed. In the case of series of successes generally our expectations increases towards ourselves. After series of failures our level of aspiration decreases. Our social environment also influences our motivation of accomplishment because most of the times we compare our results to others’.

How would you throw the hoop?

Imagine the following situation: We ask several people to throw a hoop onto a shaft which is standing on the other side of a room. There is no other instruction, the aim is to have the hoop on the shaft. People usually try to solve this task differently. Some people step next to the shaft then put on it, others walk into the other side of the room and try to throw. But also can happen that somebody is asking if test throwing are possible. We say yes, because there is no other instruction, we don’t limit the number of try-outs. This person will do some try-outs and will stand in that distance where from still can throw the hoop successfully onto the shaft. We can recognize, this person shows a success orientated behaviour and those who throw from far or too close they show failure avoidance behaviour.


Being success orientated or having failure avoidance behaviour is a stable characteristic of our personality, which has been developed by own experience, culture, background and education.

It will be successful but if not, it’s just a drop in the bucket.

Generally those people who show high motivation of accomplishment are persistent and trust in their own capacities. They like to know what they can expect in a situation and prefer to choose a moderately difficult tasks fitting into their performance. They don’t look for too easy tasks because they are not challenging. When they face with a very difficult task they start with an attitude like, probably no one else could solve it as well. They are willing to take risks but always keep eye on the reality. If they fail they don’t lose their spirit because attribute the failure to internal but not constant factors, that’s why their self-esteem is higher and more stable than those people who behave avoiding failure. They experience flow more often because they choose tasks which fitting into their abilities and capabilities. Not too difficult but not too easy and have challenges.

The other side of the coin

Vigorously failure avoiding people most of the times chose tasks which don’t fit their capacities. They undertake too easy or unfounded challenges. So they chose a goal which is impossible to get, but nobody could do it, that’s how they protect themselves from failure, or they chose a very easy task just to assure their success. If they get a task, moderately difficult but which would fit their capacities, they worry, they are anxious and continuously unsatisfied with themselves. If the case of failure willing to give up their efforts very soon. If they succeed they attribute it to an outside factor, like luck. If they fail they attribute it to their own lack of capacities. Well, they are not able to be happy about their success and if they fail that exasperates them too much. Often behind their behaviour there are anxiety of accomplishment and precariousness of own capacities.

Therefore our attitude affects how we face with tasks. If we learn to gauge our real capacities and then look for challenges which is fitting into them, we can experience more successes. Small successes build our self-esteem and confidence. Through them we can increase our expectations towards ourselves and able to become more and more successful.


Another very important factor is to be able to handle failure properly and improving how to deal with it. Not always we are responsible completely for our failures, if so, can be blamed a temporary internal factor as well. Also not a good way to blame all of the time outside factors and seeing ourselves as a victim of circumstances. Very important to have a good grip of the situation, examining closely all of the internal and external factors. If we are enough brave to face with our negative experiences we are able to improve our self. There is no failure without a lesson! We can see (again) how having a proper self-knowledge has a big impact on our life and on its quality.


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