CSI: Accomplishment

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Julien Smith had an interesting and provocative blog post the other day discussing why a lack of motivation may be holding you back (NSFW language). Unfortunately, he missed two key ingredients that go along with motivation (or lack thereof) for achievement.

Horatio Caine from WikipediaIn the world of police detective stories from Sherlock Holmes to CSI, criminals need three things to accomplish a crime: means, motive, and opportunity.

Means. Do you have the capability to commit the crime? Is it within your ability to do so, and do you have the resources needed?

Motive. Do you have the motivation to commit the crime? Do you have a good reason to do it?

Opportunity. Is there an opportunity to leverage your means, powered by your motives, to commit the crime, or is there no chance of it occurring?

Apply these to nearly any endeavor. You may have the motive to become a famous photographer, and you certainly have the opportunity with the ubiquity of photo sharing, but if you don’t own a camera – the means – the chances of you becoming a famous photographer are virtually impossible. Obviously, your motivation can power you to find the means, but if you don’t have a camera in your possession, you don’t have a camera in your possession.

You may, as Julien uses in his explanations, have the means and the opportunity to achieve your goals, but without motivation, they’ll be nothing but daydreams and unharvested fields.

You may want to be President of the United States and may have the vast fortune and political base to do so as well as the burning motivation, but the opportunity only really comes once every four years, so the opportunity isn’t there at this very moment. (assuming you’re not reading this in a Presidential election year)

Accomplishment isn’t driven solely by motivation alone. Understanding which of the three areas of means, motive, and opportunity you’re weakest in first will guide you as to what you need to do to accomplish your goals. Simply saying “just do it” takes a lot for granted and presumes that the only gap in your lack of accomplishment is lack of motive and motivation when there may be deficiencies in all three areas. Address what’s most deficient first to move closer towards achieving your goals.

It’s easy to call someone a pussy, but to truly understand and help them figure out what they need the most to succeed… that’s the cat’s meow. /sunglasses

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4 responses to “CSI: Accomplishment”

  1. […] Chris Penn did a great job today summarizing Accomplishment into Means, Motive and Opportunity. (A post well worth your time, so please go give it a read.)  This is a great example of boiling down what it takes to get something done into an easy to remember framework that’s portable to almost any situation.   We love getting everything down to fundamental mantras and lists- it makes information compact and portable.  But like anything else, simplicity and ease of use are great design features- but the payoff is in the end utility.  This great chair is awesome, but the one in the museum is fundamentally useless to me as anything other than an object d’art- it’s only useful if it’s in my office, or I do something with this idea of chair and carry it forward into another realm. […]

  2. When you’re mapping out the goals that you want to accomplish, ensuring that you have what you need is part of the steps you take to get from goal to goal. For example, you can plan how to get the camera and you can take steps to remedy that; giving you another accomplishment along the way to greatness.

    Oh and…

    Can’t. resist.


    “Chel looks at Chris and cover her face with her palm.”

  3. Oooh snap … love it. Thanks for the post!

  4. This is a very eye opening post. I have often believed that there is more to attaining success or achievement other than just being motivated. Motivation has been over hyped and a lot of people just think that is all they need to achieve their goal. The very less focused point is on means. How about the other stuffs it takes to make things happen? Secondly is opportunity, what if it’s not yet time to strike?

    Thanks for pointing this stuffs out clearly.

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