Motivation or drive?

Goals have become the way we are taught to get ourselves motivated. They give us something to aim for, or at, and let us tell people how high we are setting the bar for ourselves.

The goals we set have, to some extent, become our motivation. The result of this for our goals is almost identical, but the way we work for these goals becomes different, and I don’t think it’s for the better.

If you are motivated by your goals, whether personal or professional, and whether one at a time or if you work with multiples, your satisfaction and inspiration comes from achieving each one. You might gain more satisfaction for achieving more of them, but it is the goals themselves you rely on.

If you are setting yourself the right goals (for you, not ones for others’ benefit) your motivation can help you reach every one of them. This would bring great satisfaction - but there are some people who can do great, singular things all their lives and feel empty. I think there are some people who have a need for something to drive where they are headed.

I believe that there is a difference between motivation and drive. Your motivation may well be to achieve your goals, but it is held in the “now.” Once the thing, the goal, you are aiming for has been reached, that motivation is complete, it is satisfied. You may, and probably will, go searching for something new to motivate you. For some people each isolated goal is motivation enough. Some people place their goals, and the motivation to achieve them, in a wider picture.

What these people have is a desire to achieve more than what is in front of them, but long term plans for where they would like to be. This is the underwriting purpose behind all of their motivation - it gives them direction from one goal to the next.

While great things can be achieved from motivation to reach goals, significant, long lasting change can be achieved through focused, well balanced drive.

As an individual I don’t think there is a right or wrong position to favour. If you are achieving what you set out to then changing may just risk you becoming unfulfilled. If you aren’t happy with what you are achieving though, I challenge you to paint the picture in your head of where you would like to be.

Does the picture show many smaller things (which may be of major significance, of course) on top of where you are now, or is it a reflection of the end of a longer path, where the steps along the way are of less relevance?

If it is the latter and you find it hard to feel fulfilled and satisfied when you reach an individual goal, I encourage you to wear the small successes and hiccups, take them in your stride, with the knowledge that it is the end of the path you are looking for, not only perfect stones along the way.

Finally - for those of you who can see a long path without an end, stop looking. Find ways to keep extending it, the world needs people who are never finished.