What Motivates You To Succeed? 2 Significant Factors For Success

I’m in a crossfit gym, absolutely drenched in sweat and gasping for air, with a trainer breathing down my neck yelling at me to push harder.  Others around me have already given up, with just a few remaining survivors.  At this point, I have two options:

1) I drop what I’m doing and tell the trainer: “The hell with this!  I’m paying you, I’ll go at my own pace!”

2) I suck it up, somehow muster up some more energy, give it all I got and push harder.

I chose option two.

Why did I choose option two?  My body was telling me otherwise.  My mind was telling me otherwise.  All natural reasoning pointed to giving it a rest.  Yet I chose to continue on.  Why?  What is it that motivates people to go above and beyond.  Why is it that, given a group of say 10 people of similar ability, one person will come out on top?  In short, what is it that motivates people to succeed?

I’ve analyzed the above moment over and over again and have extracted two concepts that drive me.  Two concepts that motivate me to succeed in all areas, whether it be physical fitness or my career.  And while I certainly can’t speak for everyone, I’d like to share these two ideas here.  So, without further ado:

1) Competitiveness – the desire to come out on top

In the above example, there were a group of 15 of us in that particular crossfit session.  Although this wasn’t a direct competition, it was clear in each person’s eyes that every man or woman wanted to last longer than the other.  I wanted to win and this desire alone allowed me to mask out all other feelings and continue going.  It is simply the competitive nature of Human Beings.  However, some are more competitive than others and strive harder to prove so.  Larry Ellison, when discussing yacht racing, once said: “I’m addicted to winning. The more you win, the more you want to win.”  And this seems to be a shared testament amongst all those who are most successful at whatever it is they may do.  It is well known that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were incredibly competitive and drove each other to innovate and succeed.  Likewise, several members of the Forbes ‘World’s Billionaires list’ have stated repeatedly that they strongly desire to continue to move up the rankings and will continue to pursue the top spot for as long as they are able.  These people have more money than most people can ever fathom, yet are driven by just the handful of people that are financially ahead of them.  Competition from others is a great force in motivating people to push harder to succeed.

2) Knowing deep down that this is for my own benefit

This one may be a bit more personal.  Let me again reference the above example.  When given the choice whether to stop or continue, I had a split second to make my decision.  I’ve realized that within that short period of time, I reminded myself that I was in fact doing this for my own good.  The harder I train (without pushing myself to injury of course), the more I benefit.  Sure, I had already completed a vigorous workout and could’ve easily stopped at that point, but I had one final push in me and I knew that by choosing to continue, I would reap the benefits.  Constantly reminding myself that the harder I train, the harder I work, and the harder I try will benefit me in the long run, motivates me to keep going until I’m able to attain the level of success I desire.

Motivation, it’s a curious thing.  I don’t necessarily believe that the above two items are universal motivating factors for all people, but I do know that they drive me to reach levels I once deemed impossible and I strongly believe that each and every person has his or her own motivating forces somewhere within themselves.

What motivates you to succeed?

Anil Merchant is a Software Engineer by day and founder at Entfusion by night, where he also maintains a personal blog  Entfusion is a social platform aimed to help connect customers searching for entertainment vendors and vice-versa.  In his spare time, he enjoys staying active through weight-lifting and boxing. Connect with Anil on Twitter!

17 Responses to What Motivates You To Succeed? 2 Significant Factors For Success

  1. Excellent post Anil. Pushing beyond your perceived limits is what builds strength and character. Stopping just short of giving it your all will never feel as good as *actually* giving it your all. It just won’t.

    And worse yet, it’ll train you to give less and less of yourself each and every time. You begin to seek the easy way out. The path of least resistance.

    But the opposite is also true. The harder you push, the more of yourself you give, the stronger you become. You build the fortitude necessary to take on greater and greater challenges. What was once hard becomes easy . . . and so you seek out even harder challenges.

    That is how you grow.


  2. Your second drive seems far more powerful than the need to compete. That ability to understand what you’ll get out in the long-run from your TEMPORARY pain is something not many people can latch onto. That is very much similar to the way I motivate myself to succeed. The temporary agony only lasts for so long, but the benefits from the pain can last a lifetime.

  3. Thanks Trevor!

    I absolutely agree – when you continuously stop short, you tend to get into a funk of taking the easy way out. The longer this continues, the harder the habit is to break!

  4. I tend to use both in tandem, or when one is simply not enough. Generally speaking, my 2nd point is my primary motivating factor. However, every now and then when I need that extra push, I use my competitive nature to my advantage.

  5. Onder Hassan says:

    Awesome article Anil.
    There’s a great book that was recommended to me recently by Bob Burg who’s the author of the best selling book ‘The Go-Giver’ called ‘Go for No’.
    The idea is to fail fast and experience loads of no’s in your life because it what leads to success. The motto of the book is – ‘Yes is the destination. No is how you get there’.
    So basically, the more we fail, the more we succeed.

    Keep up with the excellent work :)

  6. Leah Carson says:

    Great article, and great photo at the top!
    This reminds me of my road-racing dayson a team sponsored by a running apparel store. A fitness center offered to give each of us a cardio test that required running on a treadmill to the point of exhaustion.
    Every single teammate went nuts trying to outdo the others: “How long did you last?” “I kept it up for 10 minutes.” “Oh yeah? I went 10:11!” It was only a treadmill test in a lab, but you’d think we were running in the Olympic finals.
    Never discount the power of wanting to be number 1.
    Thanks to my aching knees,those days are far behind me. Now I seek to be the funniest writer I can be — not funnier than everybody else in the universe, mind you, but as funny as my natural talents will take me. I won’t release a book (or even publish a blog post) unless I think it’s worth a giggle.
    Leah Carson

  7. Thanks Onder! I’ll have to check out this book – sounds like a great read.

  8. Thanks! I can totally understand the treadmill example you provided!

  9. Pete says:

    Excellent article, Anil. For me I indirectly compete with other people, because I am directly competing with my own mind & psychology. My motivation is people. It’s based upon my values and my purpose in life, which is centered around people. This gives me sustainable indefinite motivation & energy to keep going & pushing myself outside my comfort zone, therefore producing quality results in my area of expertise, that in turn allows me to compete with other people in my area of expertise, indirectly.

    Also for success, it should be sustainable for me in the long run. My values & purpose in life is my core. Around it I have the 7 pillars in life. Career, finance, relationship, health, education, growth & contribution. Therefore for me, my direct competition with my own mind & having goals in the 7 pillars allow it for a very strong motivational factor to exceed expectations & succeed. Most importantly it allows me to be fulfilled in the process. My formula works for me. It would be interesting to know what formula other people use to succeed.

  10. AnnMazzoli says:

    the part about competitiveness completely describes me. thanks for putting it into words

  11. Thanks Pete. I really agree with this point of yours in particular:
    “also for success, it should be sustainable for me in the long run”

    I think this is highly overlooked. Short term success is easy enough to attain. However, sustainable, long term success should be the ultimate goal and requires a lot more effort.

  12. Just Me says:

    This is powerful stuff. Ive got a question though, how do you get back that intense motivation and drive when youve lost it? (…I know its around here somewhere….) After going thru a lot in the last year ive made amazing changes for good in my life, with the sky being the limit, but ive lost that all-consuming 24/7 determination to chase my goals. Oh I still have goals, but right now they feel like theyre only my goals up until they demand my energy, and then I just feel overwhelmed and too tired. Then they become dreams. Fantasies. Wishes. So does anyone have any ideas to please help??

  13. Anil Merchant says:

    Continuing to stay motivated is always a challenge. I’d suggest going back to taking small steps and perhaps rewarding yourself (in some small way) each time you accomplish one of the smaller tasks you’ve set for yourself. When you’ve set a huge goal for yourself, it’s tough to accomplish it in one bound. But when its broken down into smaller, more manageable steps, it’s much easier to eventually accomplish.

  14. Mary Slagel@Shape Daily says:

    I agree with both of those however I don’t have necessarily as strong a will as you when it comes to working out and knowing it is for my benefit. Generally, that motivates me to continue for a short while but then I throw in the towel. The first one however is definitely a motivation for me. I’ve never liked running but I remember in high school during phys ed one day we had to run around the school. I was in a bit better shape because I was on the volleyball team but I still hated running. I remember running with my friend and not giving up because she was struggling and I knew I was going to out last her but I had to run until I did. I guess that could be explained better because I sound sort of like a jerk but it’s hard to put into words what exactly went through my head to keep me running with her. But somehow I did.

  15. Raoul says:

    To be honest, what motivates me to succeed is the doubt that I may fail, I will try to be clear, when I am sure about the results, I tend to be unwilling to push much more, but when I am not sure about the results, that’s when I do my best!

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