Why do some people seam to achieve so much more than others? Why do some people seem to stick at it, while most others give up? Is it because of genetics? Because they hold a secret formula reserved for a special few?
These are not easy questions to answers, and there are likely a wide variety of factors that contribute to the success of the top performers, among which is certainly luck.
Out of all of these factors though, I believe that a strong personal drive is an essential component. In this article, we will explore some tips to improve your drive, so that you can achieve better results.
First of all it is important to distinguish Drive and motivation. Although these two traits are often named interchangeably, there are in fact different.
The definition of motivation is: “a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way.”
Motivation is the underlying purpose or needs behind behaviors. When people say that someone is motivated, they mean that the person is really keen on what they want.
Drive on the other hand is : “An aroused state of psychological tension that typically arises from a need.” When people say that someone is driven, they mean that the person in full of energy and determination toward success.
In my opinion, the key difference between the two is that motivation lives in the heart, while drive lives in the mind. This mean that motivation is “felt stronger” than drive. It is a vivid experience but it is also more transient. Drive is an impulse that can live for a long period of time.
Secondly, realise that drive is not a magic wand that will make every wishes come true. Taking consistent action is the most important aspect of success, yet it isn’t the only one. If you have the wrong strategy or methodology, it does’t matter how driven you are and how much action you take, it will probably still likely result in failure.
Similarly, if you lack clarity and don’t know what you are going after, you will end up with the wrong results, and not be happy with what you’ve got. It is irrelevant how fast you drive if you are following the wrong road.
Without further a due, here are ten tips to helps you increase your drive.
1. KEEP TRACK
“Make incremental progress, change comes not by the yard, but by the inch” Rick Pitino
People often loose motivation and drive because the goal that they work on is too big. They make the mistake of not qualifying success quick enough. Their vision spans too far in the future and there are to many steps to take in order to get there.
For example, in the process of wanting to loose 40 pounds, they forget to celebrate the loss of 3.
In this fashion people become disconnected to rewards and the feeling of success for too long.
This is where goals breakdown, or milestones comes in. Shortening goals allows to stay on track and celebrate the small wins.
Not every body like planning and breaking down goals because it initially feels inorganic and forced. It also takes mindfulness and deliberation, which is an effort in itself.
However the process of breaking down goals can help with continually enjoying small improvement and stay motivated on a long term path. It can help to connect with the little things, the small successes and ongoing progress.
What we are truly after in the pursuits of success is the emotional gratification of moving forward.
When the leap of progress are to far between, it feels like there is no way we can make it, and we lose a sense of inner-beliefs and personal agency.
2. REWARD YOURSELF
If the rewards are to far between, it can be easy to start believing that the project you’re working on is actually not all that beneficial. You get to experience all the efforts and pain but none of the enjoyment.
People often give up because they fail to be rewarded early enough for their positive actions. You need to find ways to reward yourself for these positive actions early on, and reward yourself frequently thereafter.
It takes the form of a inner-negotiation, so you become proficient at pushing our own buttons.
Being able to reward yourself means that you don’t have to rely on external rewards to stay motivated. If you don’t get external validation, you can still be happy about the work you put in and what you are giving to yourself in returns.
What are ways that you can celebrate your wins, so that you feel happy about your progress and be driven to keep going? It is OK to gratify yourself when you feel that you deserve it. It will encourage you to keep going further.
Keep in mind that rewards shouldn’t be setbacks though. Some people end up jeopardizing themselves in the name of rewards. Being good is not a “licence to be bad”. If you are trying to lose weight it doesn’t make any sense to reward yourself with a cake. If you try to save money, purchasing a new item is not the best idea.
3. REMEMBER YOUR WHY
“all the meaning resides in the personal relationship to a phenomenon, what it means to you.” Christpoher McCandless
One of the most essential component of drive and motivation is meaning. If you don’t have meaning, there is no reason to act at all. All of human actions and behaviors are in the serving of needs. By definition actions are conclusions of desires. Every action is purpose driven. If you lack inner purpose, it’s impossible to be driven.
Humans often act without being clear on what outcome is served, without a strong sense of why. This often reduce their motivation and compliance. When you are unclear about your direction and your whys, you become confuse about what you need to do and why you started in the first place.
At other times, you are not the owner of your own purpose. You do things because you believe you should, or because you have been told to. You may aim to please other people or to conform with certain standards of society and specific social groups.
You need to be in charge of defining your own success, your own pursuits and your own process of going after the things that you want.
Through the daily grind, especially when it is hard and painful. It is easy to forget why you started doing what you do in the first place. It is especially in these times that you need to remember the purpose of what you are doing. When you connect to your meaning, it becomes much easier to stay on track, and continue to take action with persistence.
Take time about to think about what are the things that you spend time on. Ask yourself why you are doing what you’re doing. If you would like things to changes take time to answer why and how. The clearer you can be about what you want, the easier it will be to get it.
Similarly, it means acting from a place that resonate with your being, in other words, being value driven. When you act in accordance to your value, you will find much easier to be driven and whole.
4. CONNECT TO INSPIRATION
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt within the heart.” Helen keller
Sometime it is difficult to be intrinsically driven. Despite having the knowledge that we should act on the things that are good for us, following through is another story.
In these time, you may need a little “pick me up”. There is nothing wrong with looking for a boost outside yourself when you need it. Hopefully you have found and evolve in a supportive environment. Outside help is invaluable when you’re feeling low.
Times of hardship are exactly when you need to be able to connect to positive sources of inspiration.
Find ways to be reminded of how exciting life really is and how awesome things can be; To be reminded about all the good you do, and what you can offer to the world; To be reminded of your values and be reconnected with your resources so that we can move forward.
Realise that your inspiration is one of the fuels for your motivation and drive. Also, Guess what? inspiration is manufactured. Inspiration is not a cause but an effect. Most often, inspiration is a response to a certain stimuli.
Once you realise that motivation is manufactured, you can start to understand how to create it, and seek it’s sources on a regular basis so that you never run out again.
You feel inspired because you have been exposed to a new piece of information that you find interesting or stimulating. You’ve witnessed a person’s stories that shows you that success is possible. Inspiration is the temporary emancipation from your limiting beliefs, until you settle back into them and become demotivated.
Inspiration is a commodity. This is why motivational speaker get paid well. Because they know how to motivate others in a world that can be demotivating. Although they can be life changing, you don’t have to go to seminars and conferences to get these benefits.
In order to stay inspired, you need to find the right triggers, or catalysts. Inspiration catalysts can come for a variety of sources, and are very subjective.
In order to find your catalysts, think of times when you really felt inspired.
What do you believe are the reasons why you felt that way? Could it be possible to make these experiences happen again?
This inspiration can come from such a wide range of sources. It often comes form people in your life that are highly positive and inspirational. Or it is connecting to mentors, either in life, online or through the media.
Here are some ideas to explore:
-Connecting with positive and supportive people
-Having strong experiences
-Being expose to the right kind of information (videos, reading, podcasts, articles, etc)
-Feeling the gratitude of others, the impact of your actions.
-Generating motivating thoughts
-spending time in a specific environment, like nature
5. MAKE IT A HABIT
“Motivation is what get you started, habit is what keeps you going” Jim Ryun
Being driven is a life practice. The most driven people didn’t wake up one day, magically infused with a supercharged willpower, ready to tackle anything. They had to work at it, and build their character overtime.
Drive is a trait, and as such it can be developed. To develop drive, you have to start with the right mindset. Eventually, it becomes easier and easier and becomes part of your very identity.
Realise that you gradually become what you most think about. If your cognitive habits are focused and driven, you will naturally become a more focused and driven person.
Being driven starts with developing and practising mental toughness. It requires you to gradually push yourself a little bit more. You expend your limits in the area you want to improve, like increasing your work ethic for example.
I like that quote from Tony Robins, “If I can’t, I must.” He calls this process of expansion, “stretching”. Gradually going out of the comfort zone in order to get better results. That’s what it means to “go the extra mile”, and to “push through”.
Drive also comes from expecting and accepting efforts. People get discouraged when things get hard because they believe everything should be easy. Driven people know that they will fall from time to time, face hardship, but they always get back up.
Develop the “never giving up” mindset and you are sure to see positive results. This means embracing the daily grind and the efforts needed to succeed. You can express your desired results as a strong personal commitment. Then build the habit of always following through.
Day to day, you can organise and settle into routines. (blueprint your day article)When you create a strong routine and simply go through the motion day in and day out, you need much less motivation to get started, which is often the hardest part.
Lastly, boosting your drive to new levels happen through the process I call “Mastering the crossroad”. Life is filled with crosswords moments, when you need to make a decision about what you are going to do next.
This crossroad often involve the battle between a hard choice (one that takes effort) and an easy/no choice (one that provides instant satisfaction). This crossroad leads to different outcomes, come frequently and represent the map of the direction you are heading toward.
The difference between drivers and drifters is that people with drive consistently make the right decisions about what they should be doing during these crossroads moments.
The more you aim to be driven, think strong thoughts, plan for hardships and how you will respond, execute and follow through on your personal commitments, the better you become at it. Drive is one of these trainings that are well worth it, if you desire an optimal quality of life.
6. BE ESSENTIALIST
“Less is more. Progress is made through precise, persistent, and purposeful pushes.” Scott Perry
Most people actually don’t lack drive, they are simply stretched thin between too many things. The fact is that when we have to many desires, we are pulled towards many direction at once. Often time these different directions may even be in opposition, be in conflict with one another.
Our very own desires impede the completion of others desires. The is why we need to choose and prioritise. To drastically increase our chances of achieving what we really want we need to desire less things. Only through this process can we be truly successful and achieve meaningful things.
Drive is often just a matter of really choosing what you really want. To prioritise the most important and sacrifice all the other smaller, secondary desires in order to do the one thing that is most important to you.
Most people are not ready to do that because desires are really compelling and satisfying. We are lured into the sense that we can pursue and have everything. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and when we try, we are likely to end up with nothing at all.
People who are truly great, also accept to be mediocre at a lot of things. And choose not to pursue things that they wished they had in a parallel universe. Letting go of all the coulda, shoulda, woulda… Letting go of regrets and the longing for the alternative versions of the self.
This means that we need to take time to think about what we truly want in order to trim all the extras and unnecessary things that do not actually fulfill our spirits.
It is a process we have to go through often because it isn’t easy. It’s natural to have regrets about letting go of secondary desires. They often come back periodicity. The “what ifs”, “maybes”, and “wouldn’t be nice” come back to haunt us and demand our attention.
We need to see through their lies and empty promises of pleasure and learn to be ruthless with our pursuits and our time. It is only when we become truly essentialist that we start making leaping progress.
We simply cannot focus on to many things at once. This is especially true if you want to get you subconscious mind on board. We can only process a limited amount of information and follow one direction.
Desires are like commands to the subconscious mind. Having to many desires, especially when they are in conflict becomes very confusing and freeze our potential for action, as well as motivation.
Focusing on only a few things is especially difficult for intelligent people with a booming curiosity. Curiosity, while great can tend to pull the mind in so many directions and destroy sustained focus.
In the pursuit of significant goals, this curiosity needs to be narrowed down into a funnel of focused and obsessive inquisitiveness. When we become proficient at channelling our curiosity effectively, it can become a tremendous source of creativity instead of being a source of distraction.
7. CONNECT WITH YOUR GOAL
“The key to success is to start before you are ready” Marie Forleo
Most people set goals. People who do not expressively set goals, have them on a subconscious level. It is not having goals that make achievements happen. Rather, it is the consistent pursuit of goals through actions.
This pursuit is made easy or hard by the level of clarity surrounding the goal. It is hard to take action, even harder when you don’t know what you need to be doing. Most people’s goals are unspecific, non-actionable and not intimate.
Their goals are more like dreams. Something they think about pleasantly every now and then. Once the goal is set, it sits on the back of the person mind not to be looked at again for a long while.
In order to remain driven you need to be in contact with your goal often. It means, thinking about it, reading it, seeing it, revisiting it, adjusting strategy, keeping track, on a regular basis.
This is important to do as often as possible. At least once a week, have a sit down to think about your goals and the progress you’ve made thus far.
That’s also why it’s important to prioritise and not to have too many goals at one. You simply don’t have the energy and time to focus on and track to many things. If you try will end up scattered and eventually give up, or make a poor job of it, which is far from ideal.
Aim to develop absolute clarity when it comes to your goals. It means to be very specific about what the completion/ success of the goal looks like.
To do that you can start with the end in mind. How will you know that your goal has been achieved? What does success look like? What will be different? What are the metric by which you can measure the goal?
Once you know what you are shooting for, and why it is important to you, you can start to structure the goal and break it down.
Being intimate with your goals means that you take complete ownership of them. This means that you take full responsibility for the pursuits of them and your effort. This means that you are pursuing this goal for yourself and not to please anybody else, even if the outcomes may need to be directly related to your own benefit.
Owning your goal also means defining your own success. Nobody else knows what your heart desires and what you should be satisfied with. It is up to you to set your own standards and organise your goal so that it fits with your needs and your life requirements.
You don’t have to be the best to be a success, you simply have to be your best. Owning your goals means going after the right destination for the right reasons.
When your truly own your goal, you can set your boundaries and emancipate yourself of what other people think. People close to you will have visions for you of what you should be and what you should do but no one knows you more than you and what you should really be doing with your life.
Steps to be connect with you goals:
-Start with the end in mind
-Break down your goal
-Identify the costs of pursuing the goal
-Identify potential obstacles and how you are going to overcome them
-Revise your goal regularly/everyday
-Goal writing/ goal affirmation
8. BE ACCOUNTABLE
“Accountability is the glue that ties the commitment to the result.” Bob Proctor
One of the reasons that you may not be achieving the results that you want, is that you are not putting yourself out there. Most of the time, ambitious goals and serious projects only become real when they are confronted by the world, become exposed to being judged.
When others know of what you do, you become accountable. Being accountable is a great way to be more driven, because all of the sudden, you have something to prove, your reputation is on the line.
When nobody knows what you are doing, there is no costs to failure. When others who’s opinion matter know what you are up to, you tend to not want to let them down.
Motivation does not come from wanting reward alone, but also to avoid the pain or failure. Lack of drive often stem from situations when failure is not all that bad. There are no massive painful repercussion.
If you can find ways to make it more painful to fail than the efforts it take to succeed, you will drastically increase your chances of success.
Do wonder why you meet work deadlines and commitments, yet fail to meet your own? It is not because you like your work goals better than the one that you set for yourself. It is likely to be the contrary.
The reason is because there are much clearer negative consequences if you do fail. You may get disapproval, not get a pay rise or promotion, or even lose your job. When you are working on yourself, nobody is going to come around to tell you off if you haven’t followed through.
A Great way of creating accountability is by making commitments to others with positive and negative consequences.
You can also harness the power of peer support by setting up an accountability group with like minded people. Connect online and find people that have similar goals and interests to yours, so that you can support each others and lift each other up.
It is much easier to take actions, when we have others who keep us in check, and that care about what we do.
That being said, be selective about the people you bring in and who you become accountable to. You want to make sure that these people are really on your side and will not use you as leverage.
Try to open up to people you know are trustworthy and supportive. Don’t announce yourself far and wide. You will then tend to be more concerned about your reputation and being validated that actually pursuing goals.
Many will even enjoy to see you fail, as this will reassure their own insecurities and limitation. They will readily come up with excuses for you about why you can’t do it, all as helpful advice of course. Stay away from that as much as possible.
When opening up about your personal goals and deep desires, be especially careful of how you do so with close ones. People who are close to you often have their own agenda when it comes to you and how you spend your time.
They also have their own limitations, which can be downloaded onto you. Nothing is as crushing as a close one telling you that you can’t succeed. It is often best to work around them and only expose yourself once you have already a certain amount of success.
9. TAKE MASSIVE ACTION
“The path to success is to take massive, determined actions.” Tony Robins
It is paramount to take action to be and to remain driven. Actions are what transforms motivation into drive. Until you take action, your goals are only potentials. Taking action towards your goals not only produces external results, it also proves to yourself that you are serious about your pursuit.
Actions, when sustained become a positive feedback loop. Some amount of action lead to more actions, and so on an so forth. If you don’t give up, you become immersed in a path that inevitably lead you to your goals.
Taking actions, more precisely, following through on your goals and commitment, communicate to your subconscious mind that you are really serious about your pursuit, that you really want it.
When you wish for something, but don’t act on it. Your subconscious mind just think of it has another dream, a pleasant fantasy, with no other purpose that to fulfill some emotional gratification in the moment.
When you take massive action, you build a track record with yourself. You build self-trust between the different parts of yourself, the driver and the vehicle.
Taking action also becomes a habit. When you build the habit of taking action no matter what, you will still be able to make progress, even when your motivation is low.
That’s one of the main difference between drive and motivation. Someone who is driven will still take action, even when they do not feel like it. Sometime it means pushing through your lack of motivation. Overcome the temporary feeling of laziness, fear, uncertainty and boredom.
Taking action is sometime just about going through the motion, day in and day out. Going to the gym even for the crappy workout, sitting at the desk even for the daunting work. Going through the motion is about just doing it, like the Nike moto. Not over thinking it. No coming up with explanation and excuses about why you can’t.
Often the hardest part is just getting started. Once you do, all your different selves get on board, and you end up getting things done anyway, even if you didn’t think you initially would.
10. REFUEL AND DOWN-REGULATE
“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you” Katie Reed
You are not a robot. To keep functioning at your best, you need time to recover. This means tending to your physical, mental and emotional needs. You simply cannot constantly be productive and make progress every single moments.
It is tempting to think that with massive drive you can become superhuman and be productive all the time. This is a error in thinking. Unrelenting action is unsustainable, leading to burnout and giving up.
Being driven also means knowing how to be sustainable in action over a long period of time. Not to fall in the trap of going all out, following sudden bursts of enthusiasms and going back to doing nothing afterwards.
If your batteries are low, the most productive thing you can do is to recharge them. This means getting some sleep, doing self-care, like taking a break, going for a walk, meditating, or whatever it is that relaxes and resets you.
Only when you are fully refreshed can you come back to your work in top shape.
Ideally, with a balance lifestyle and good personal management, you gradually increase the capacity of your batteries overtime, so that you always have plenty of energy to spare, and keep doing more.
When you are solely focus on your outputs and disregard your input, you run the risk of driving yourself to the ground. Your batteries become weaker and you become less and less effective, until there is nothing left of you to lean on.
Sometimes, refueling is just a matter of slowing down. To be very productive, you are in a state of high activity and stimulation. It means that your brain and body are burning hot, and utilising resources. This can lead to reactive states, and being vulnerable to impatience and stress.
A high amount of stimulation can also be addictive, leading to unwanted behaviours. You can be driven to constantly look for distractions, pleasures and increasing amounts of stimulation in order to be fulfilled.
Overtime you can become numb to these stimulations and activities, to tend to enjoy less and lose motivation. This can reduce work satisfaction, consequently lowering drive and leading to the seeking of activities that are more directly rewarding.
Take periodic break, with low stimulation, so that you can reset your enjoyment of activities and your desire to do them. That can mean resetting your reward system, with doing a dopamine fast, or going on a retreat.
11. PLAN FOR FAILURES
“failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently” Henry Ford
It is inevitable that your drive will dip at some point or another. Planning for this obstacle and learning how to get back up is the single most important factor in remaining highly driven over long periods of time.
Remember that “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Having a motivation plan/ drive plan , allows you to notice warning signs of dip in drive, and allow you to do what is necessary to bounce back as quickly as possible.
Personal success is a matter of not going backwards, just as much as it is about going forward. You always fall from the mountain much faster that you climb it. To make progress through incremental gains means cutting down losses as much as possible.
In order to stay active, you can harness motivational weakness. Lacking motivation is not necessarily a bad thing. You can recognise your mental/emotional state as feedback for what we should be doing with ourselves. Lack of motivation is often a warning sign of low energy, and indication that you need to slow down. Rest, and reassess.
It can also be representative of a lack of clarity around; needs, values, or your belief system. This can lead you to open the door for positive work that can really take you to the next level.
When you are deaf to these needs, you are more vulnerable to burnouts and giving up, as we have seen in part 9. Learning to listen to your dip in motivation can be a very positive thing.
Expecting dips in motivation can make it an easier experience to go through, and allow you to balance it accordingly. Similarly, acceptance of failures allows you to forgive yourself and move on more rapidly. When you beat yourself up for your laps of performance, it is that much harder to get back on track.
When we fail, are non-productive, or under-perform, judging from our own standards, it is natural to experience feelings of frustration, guilt and shame. However these very feelings are likely setting us back further and prevent us from bouncing back and taking positive actions.
Ideally you can come to learn from your failure to drive positive change. You start to analyse and integrated the learning that failures bring, free of emotional baggage.
12. INCREASING SELF-EFFICACY
“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Mahatma Gandi
Realise that a lot of your drive happens on a subconscious level. Your subconscious mind influences how you operate much more that you might believe. Your drive is also relative to your self-image, your relationship with success in general and that of the tasks at hand.
The trust that you put in yourself and the deep belief that “I can achieve this and fulfill my desire”, happens mostly bellow the consciousness threshold.
These factors fall under the umbrella term that is self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is determinant when it comes to the actions you take and what you pursue.
A lot of your possibilities are locked within your own mind. The more efficacious you are, the more likely you are to be driven and go after the things that you want.
This self-efficacy is often the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Do you need to be validated and encouraged by others to keep going? Or do you know deep inside that you will be rewarded and keep going until you get it?
It is also the difference between dreamers and realists. Dreamers dream because they do not actually believe that they can make their desires come true. Realists evaluate the possibilities of their desires, then rationalise, choose and act accordingly.
Dreams and goals are often used interchangeably. However there is one fundamental difference between them. Goals are actionable and concrete while dreams are flexible and easy.
Dreams capture emotions and feelings about the future. They bring immediate emotional rewards. Goals need to be carefully thought out, the first thing they bring is often pressure and and stress. A pressure that comes from a question to the self: “Are you going to take on the challenge and fulfill your desire, or are you going to be lazy?”
Self-efficacy is correlated with self-confidence and where you sit within your comfort zone, and how far you are willing to veer from it.
Being driven means pursuing what success demands no matter what. This often lead to being pushed outside of your comfort zone, being forced to learn new things and to acquire new skills. Successful people are often great learners and adaptable people.
As a final word, I absolutely believe that you have the potential in you to be this driven self. You owe it to yourself to go after the things that you want and at least attempt to live your desired life.
Thank you for reading, May you be intensely driven and achieve massive success.
All the best.