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The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win – Jeff Haden

4th September 2019
The Motivation Myth book cover


The Motivation Myth aims to bust the motivation myth which states that motivation begets success. Its purpose is to help us achieve huge goals.


Jeff Haden is a ghostwriter, speaker, author, productivity-improvement consultant, Inc. Magazine contributor and LinkedIn influencer. He has ghostwritten more than 50 books and hundreds of pieces. He had worked in the manufacturing sector for 20 years before changing his career pathway.


The Motivation Myth contains an introduction and 11 chapters. The chapters are 1) Motivation Is Not the Spark, 2) The Greater Your Focus, the Lower Your Chances of Success, 3) Your Goal Must Always Choose Your Process, 4) Happiness Comes to Serial Achievers, 4.5) Wishing and Hoping Is the Most Unrealistic Approach of All, 5) To Gain Incredible Willpower… Need Less Willpower, 5.5) One Question Provides Nearly Every Answer, 6) Why Work Smarter When You Can Work Your Number? 7) You Don’t Need a Coach; You Need a Pro, 8) Do More by Doing Less and 9) The Bottom Line.

I bet you notice there are 2 .5 chapters in the list above. These 2 chapters are shorter than the others, hence the .5. The contents of the chapters correspond to their titles and the author includes some step-by-step guides and actionable advice in some of these chapters.


So, what is the motivation myth? According to the author, motivation does not lead to success, it is the other way round instead. Surprising right? I was surprised at first too. But after reading this book, I am convinced.

Success is more about consistency – doing the small tasks consistently. The most important step is to start because starting provides the motivation to finish. Along the way, enjoy small, seemingly minor successes regularly. Thus, break the goal down to small steps and focus on achieving these. This will provide us the motivation to achieve the goal.

The main purpose of a goal is to establish the right process and routine to achieve that goal. How do we create a right process? By making the environment conducive to achieving the goals, selecting the best benchmark to compare yourself with and keep pushing boundary. A good process tells you precisely what you need to accomplish at every step along the way. Aim to improve incrementally but consistently so that we will not feel demotivated when the goal still seems so far away. Celebrate the small improvement achieved will keep us motivated.

Choices are a huge obstacle to meeting objectives. So, eliminate as many on-the-spot decisions as possible by planning ahead or use a heuristic to make the decision. The make-or-break point can be as simple as whether the choice will help in achieving our goals or not. If it is not, then the answer is no. The author suggests to use “I don’t” instead of “I can’t” to avoid lapsing back into unwanted behaviours as “I can’t” signifies presence of choices.

The author is against hacks or shortcuts as he believes that achieving our goals require hard work. Short term hacks would not build the routine that will lead us to the ultimate goal.

Ultimately, living a good life also means minimizing regrets. Thus, the author asks us to stop looking back and start looking forward to see how far we can still go. Then work hard to get there.

Overall, this book is pleasant to read. The author is brutally honest and funny. However, I find it to be repetitive. He really uses a lot of texts to drive his points home but I think it is slightly too much. Otherwise, it is a good book that provides us a pathway to success.


  1. Motivation is the fire that starts burning after you manually, painfully, coax it into existence, and it feeds on the satisfaction of seeing yourself make progress.
  2. Success is inevitable only in hindsight.
  3. After all, we are not what we think or wish or dream – we are what we do.
  4. But it’s very possible that consistent praise is one of the reasons they do amazing things.
  5. Your dreams are important, but your plan is what will allow you to achieve your goals and live out your dreams.


2 out of 3 stars

Interested in The Motivation Myth?

You may get the book from Kinokuniya Malaysia through the link below*.

Get the book here

*Disclosure: The above link is Involve Asia affiliate link. Thus, I may earn a small commission when you purchase the book through this link.

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