Finding the True Power of Motivation

What does it mean to be truly motivated and how far can being motivated really push a person? The saying goes: where there’s a will there’s a way, and in so many instances that mantra has been proven correct, even if something appears to be impossible on the surface. Even people who don’t come from the best set of circumstances can achieve great successes if they can find and harness the true power of motivation.

Reed Wilcox Knows Motivation

I have discussed this topic with many of my guests on our weekly radio show American Dreams, including Reed Wilcox, who is definitely one person that understands the power of motivation. Reed currently serves as the president of Southern Virginia University. Before beginning his tenure at SVU, he served as co-founder and chief development officer of Clene Nanomedicine, a science-based company with proprietary technology integrating nanotechnology, advanced materials science, plasma physics, and biotechnology. He is also the former partner and director of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a leading global professional firm. He is currently on the company’s board of directors. Reed also co-founded General Resonance, LLC, the parent company of Clene, and currently serves on that company’s board as well.

Motivation Breeds Success

In discussing motivation, Reed explained that he has found it to be much more important than high school records or grades. “There are lots of kids that just don’t get traction until maybe their junior year and there are lots of kids, on the other hand, that have done very well with an athletic program for example or a music program, or something they really cared about.” Reed said that these kids have shown that they can really do something when they’re motivated even though they weren’t particularly motivated about school. “What we look for are kids that show they have motivation. So we think about it sort of as a motivational aptitude rather than a scholastic aptitude. It’s like an MAT: Motivational Aptitude Test, if you will, rather than SAT or in addition to an SAT.”

Ready and Motivated to Learn

Many students do excel in school because that’s where they have demonstrated their motivation, however Reed made it clear that Southern Virginia University will also take kids who have demonstrated that they could work hard in jobs that they had to do; for example, like supporting their family and not having the time to do well in school. He said they have one student from Liberia who grew up in the inner city of Baltimore. This young man had never learned academic skills because he was taking care of his family. “We took him in and taught him how to learn. He is going to graduate this year with honors. He was motivated and he knew how to work and discipline himself. We’re looking for kids that there’s more diversity in terms of high school grades. But when they come they learn how to learn.”

The Motived Doers Succeed

Reed pointed out that he his experience has taught him that when it comes to being successful, it’s not necessarily the kids who are the top scholars who have been the most successful. “What’s consistently true is the kids who are doers succeed; the kids who were motivated succeed. That’s who we look for. That’s what we do.”