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!