The prime determiner of success is motivation. In learning a language, or any subject whatsoever, or a new skill or talent, it is motivation which determines success. Learning out of an externally imposed “duty” or obligation will bring little success. It may bring A’s, but not true understanding. If your passions lie in learning Chinese, but you are told to study French, of course you will fail. Or if your passions are in biology, but you are being forced to learn about the history of European art. Your understanding follows your passions, because with passion is proper motivation.

Motivation underlies all manner of success. Great creativity will not blossom from externally imposed necessity; it requires the motivation of creating! Morality and compassion require the sincere motivation of benefiting other sentient beings, not status, wealth, reward, or even acceptance or love from others. The motivation must be in the act of benefiting another sentient being.

If one’s goal is spiritual in nature, it is the motivation which determines the efficacy of the faith, the practice, the prayer. If your motivation is status or accomplishment, or accumulation of merit for the sake of accumulation, rather than for the sake of utilizing the gift of a human life and mind to its fullest capacity and benefiting all beings, then you will not get far. These individuals cling to their dogma and “correctness,” which is honestly irrelevant because all dogmas are correct in their own way, but anyway, they lose track of the motivation of their spirituality in the first place. That or they don’t embrace their true motivation. The highest aim of all spiritualities is the same motivation, but for such individuals, their own personal motivation is more akin to feeling like they have a community or even simply having something to occupy their time with. These motivations will not bring one enlightenment. Just as passing a test is not a sufficient motivation to learn a foreign language, or money and fame is not a sufficient motivation to create the most inspiring art. Make sure your motivation is in the right place and you’ve got it made.