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To be great or a disaster is based on the same rule. Our effort to gain knowledge or continue in ignorance has the same basis. To carry forward an addiction or to leave one behind can be attributed to the same starting point.
Know what that is?
Our desire to do so.
Motivation from our leaders (familial or professional) and reward are external factors. The first step towards achievement can only come from ourselves. We should want to gain knowledge, for example. We should want to be good or to add value to whatever entity we belong to. Only then, like picking up a habit or leaving one behind, would all the external factors make any difference.
Our son's attempt to write the perfect "A" is no different from someone going to college. They want to do something. The teachers in the case of the student, or his parents in our son's case, provide assistance and help only after they take the first step.
That is no different, once again, from an alcoholic trying to acquire their drink of choice. No different than someone trying to gain fitness in a gym. They do and get what they want simply because they want to. Help from groups, friends, family, doctors or trainers all come later.
Desire to be good then, to lead, to motivate and to achieve. Become a better version of yourself. Add value in whatever it is that you do. Whatever you want to do, do take the first step.