Are You Driven?

By , SparkPeople Blogger

When I was growing up my parents would often tell my brothers and me that "anything worth doing is worth doing right" or "a job worth doing is not worth doing half way" as they were trying to teach and train us. As an athlete, many a coach told me, "you play the way your practice so practice the way you want to play."

My grandmother offered me the best words of advice before I started my first job and I have carried them with me ever since. She told me, "Never let people see you standing around or asking what should be done. God gave you eyes to see, so when a counter that needs wiped off or a floor needs swept, pick up the rag or broom and do it." Today she might say, "Just do it" or "Get 'er done" but back then, the sentiment was the same.

As a parent, I have used many of these same lines and shared my grandmother's words of wisdom with my own children as I have attempted to teach and train them to be hard working and to apply their best effort in what they do. Last week I received an email from my mother that reminded me of my greatest asset and why those words from my youth still inspire me so much.

Growing up in an agricultural area of Ohio, my older brother and I were active members of the 4-H. We showed horses for a number of years and learned a lot about hard work, disappointment, and success. Those lessons proved very valuable during my years in competitive athletics. As a Midwestern family that had a love of horses, the Dan Fogelberg song Run for the Roses about a young colt that would grow and run in the Kentucky Derby was a hit in our home. When I was in high school, my mother told me part of that song summed me up pretty well. Last week she reminded me of it again. The last stanza of the song says, "From sire to sire, it's born in the blood. The fire of a mare and the strength of a stud. It's breeding and training and something un-known that drives you and carries you home."

It is that "something unknown" or personal drive that has always made me push a little harder, dream a little bigger and expect a little more. Over the years, my family and close friends have seen my drive as never being satisfied, negative or someone that always sees the glass as half empty. For me, I don't remember feeling dis-satisfaction but rather that I wanted to do something better and that no matter how good something was, there was always room for improvement. For instance, when I was playing competitive volleyball and we were working on hitting the ball "down" the line, I was driven to hit the ball "on" the line. That drive did not come from the coach or a player but from something inside. That personal drive took a person with mediocre ability and provided them with a college scholarship.

Drive is defined as being compelled, forced, or urged by pressure, coercion, or strong motivation. For some of us, our drive or motivation is solely external and when it is high, we are motivated to work hard. However, when it is lacking we find it difficult to keep going toward our goals, dreams, and desires. For those of us that have that "something unknown" we don't really understanding not being motivated or being compelled to do more or needing someone else to motivate us. Drive for us is the very thing that moves us to climb Stone Mountain to see the view instead of taking the tram or knowing that anything worth doing takes effort and hard work and when you arrive you really have only just begun.

I am grateful for that "something unknown" that has driven me all these years. I am also grateful that my mother saw it in me so many years ago and reminded me of it all these years later. How about you?

Do you have that "something unknown" that drives you in life or do you struggle with motivation and finding the drive to reach and exceed your goals?

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PATRICIA-CR 7/29/2020
Darn! I struggle all the time. Nevertheless, I enjoy life. Report
My husband and I were both driven... Report
KITTYHAWK1949 6/29/2020
not really. more just determined. Report
This is an awesome article. I am driven when it comes to helping others but not when it comes to helping myself. I have many tools at myndisposal, as regards weight loss but I haven't utilized them. Report
Thanks Report
You had a very wise grandmother. Report
Drive to me is motivation and I see I am motivated by many things ~people are always saying "Where do you get the time to do that?' Honey,I MAKE the TIME!
That is why I have achieved many things in life I set out to do and by God's Grace, He has blessed me with a wonderful DH and family, a job I retired from that I was good at and recognized for,a sport that I was good at and recognized for [and the FIRST to have my number retired at my university!] All those things come from a motivated person !!!! And I am content,but always having goals~like losing the weight and KEEPING it off~and it WILL happen ~because I am motivated!! Report
thanks Report
Thanks so much for the great article. Report
I've always had a lot of drive, but I married someone who didn't and that was a mistake on my part, but I got married in the '60's when women were told that they had to follow the man as he was "Head of the Family." Now I tell my DD to follow HERSELF and do for her. Report
I'm a person who needs help with motivation...except when it comes to horses. I just got into an internationally recognized equestrian center... I couldn't be more motivated to get more in shape and ready to go by November. When it comes to horses I can spend nine hours in the hot August sun in Florida working my butt off and still come home and want to go out with the girls. There's nothing I can't do and I just want to do more and more. I'm so happy to feel that coming back into my life. I've been lost without it. Report
trying to top myself at workouts keeps me driven, loving the healthy spark lifestyle! i always try to do a good job at everything i tackle, my parents definitely instilled that in me :) Report
I have always been a highly driven person, particularly with career and academics. I have the belief that I should push myself to my full potential even if it requires some sacrifice (such as starting a family later in life.) Sometimes I feel like I couldn't stop even if I wanted to. Healthy behaviors are harder, because those are less of a habit, but I attribute my hard work on SparkPeople over the last 2 years in part to my inability to quit. I can't help but question at what point being ''driven'' stems from an inability to accept my own imperfections. A lot of work has gone into teaching myself that I can't do and have it all. Being driven is not all it's cracked up to be. Report
That's a new angle on "glass half empty". I'm a "glass half empty" person and instead of being ashamed of that tendency, I'm proud of it. I always am looking at doing things better, things are rarely good enough. I've been labelled negative, but it's not that I don't realize that I'm doing ok, I just expect more than ok from myself. What's wrong with that? Report
Excellent...... thanks. Report
Wow. Great. I needed to read that today :-) Report
This is a beautifully written post. Thank you. Report
I completely agree with the 'get er done' philosophy. Too much energy is pending on complaining about an activity or trying to figure out a way out of it. It's much easier to just do it or suggest positive tweaks to it. Life is much easier when driving ourselves and helping others drive themselves. Report
I was VERY driven with my school work, giving me a 3.43 GPA. However, I don't feel that same drive with myself and my weight loss goals. It just seems like there is so much going on at one time and this always gets pushed to the back burner. I want to feel that same drive again and really push myself to reach my personal fitness/weight loss goals. Report
I try to instill this in my sons when I say "go do it again and do it the way I would do it". I hope its getting through. I"m always lookin for a better way to do something. Report
Yes, but I am trying to place limits. If I let my drive rule, I probably would not be participating in triathlon, because I know I'm a back of the packer with the time I have to train. So, I really have to work hard to convince myself that it is worth doing these events, even if I can't be competitive in them. I really have to work at putting my ego aside. I know these events motivate me to train like nothing else, so participating in them is a huge benefit to my fitness, but it is truely a mental struggle because I do buy into the saying, "if its worth doing, then its worth doing well." But if I follow that saying, then I won't participate in triathlons or other events at all because I know I don't have time enough to train to do them well. Report
Am I driven? In reading these comments and pondering this question, a snippet of Dr. Oz speaking to a guest on his show comes to mind. He said, "so, you're working on maintenance or cure?" What is the difference? It's that deep down, no one can remove desire for "something more"....Yes, I want something more....
Call it what you will, blue flame hot......I must have a spark in me, wow, I am just admitting that....and it feels good. Report
Just remember, there's a huge difference between having drive and being driven. Report
i am very driven. as a person woth adhd i find it hard NOT to be driven, especialy when someone tells me i cant do it, i'm driven to prove them wrong. and when i have self doubt, i'm driven just to see if i can. and it's very hard for me to give up. i get frustrated, yes, but give up? never! Report
Am I driven? Oh my, YES! My mother has often called me a TRIPLE A personality. I was driven in my school work and now I am driven in my job and in keeping up with my family. What I am NOT driven in, is in taking care of myself. Proper exercise, eating appropriate sized meals, etc. That is where I want to figure out how to be driven....physically. Spark People is a great me goals and it! Report
I hope I have the drive to diet.. because I need it.. good topic Report
I would say I was driven (so would everyone else that knows me). I have to prove to myself that I'm not stupid; that is what keeps me working so hard to keep my GPA no lower than 3.5...I would liked to have had a 4.0 but Algebra blew it for me. Report
I'm either driven or crazy because I can't imagine what else it would be that would make me get up at 6:00 on a 12° Saturday morning and run 20 miles. I set a goal and I will achieve it. Report
I'd say I am driven, better than I was a year ago, but not as driven as I was in my 40's and 50's. would love to get that drive back. I'm pretty good when my mind is made up. I write all my food and exercise down, so I have to be accountable. Report
First, a couple of caveats. What works for one, doesn't necessarily work for another. As Spark says--each of us is an experiment of one. Second, I may be playing with semantics, but the word "driven" has a negative connotation for me. A workaholic is "driven". "Driven" makes me think of the stay-at-home parent who cleans as if the house must pass a military inspection, though the kids don't get much fun time with that parent.

I prefer the term "self motivation," which clearly puts me in charge. Some things I strive to do as close to perfect as a human can; some things I do a reasonable job on; some things I choose not to do at all. And sometimes I just choose to kick back and leave the dishes in the sink until tomorrow morning.

Here's what says about "driven."

driv·en (drvn)
Past participle of drive.
1. Piled up or carried along by a current: driven snow.
2. Motivated by or having a compulsive quality or need: a driven person.
3. Caused, sustained, or stimulated: an export-driven economic recovery.
4. Powered, operated, or controlled: a piston-driven airplane; a menu-driven software program. Report
Unfortunately, I am one of those who do not have the "something unknown" to drive me. Is that something you are born with, or do you have to be blessed with parents or loved ones who instill that in you? Report
I think I have recaptured that "feeling of unknown" and I am more positive and more determined to reach my goals. Report
I'm definitely self-motivated, and when I discovered there are plenty of people who are NOT that way, I was really surprised. But I see that as an opportunity for me to help out - to give them the external motivation that is so innate to me. Report
I have lost my motivation some where. Not sure where it went or how I can get it back. Report
I found this blog really interesting because I am trying to do the exact opposite in my life. I've always been a perfectionist and am constantly striving to do better, stronger, faster, more. However, this doesn't translate into motivation to me, it translates into anxiety.

I'm disabled and push myself to keep a schedule of a very motivated and active non-disabled person, and I'm finally realizing that this is simply unrealistic and I'm never going to be able to win.

Unfortunately this has made weight loss impossible for me. My two year Spark anniversary is coming up in April, and all I've managed to do during the two years I've been a member of the site is to maintain my current weight. I'm currently a leader of two SparkTeams and participate regularly in two others, and I always try to be a source of motivation and encouragement to my fellow teammates, but I feel like I talk the talk and don't walk the walk. You can't imagine how frustrated I am.

I really enjoyed reading another aspect of this topic, great blog! Report
I see that concept as being a bit dangerous since I was taught it as a child. I found that it led to never feeling good enough. I'm working on learning the concept of "enough" the house is clean enough, I have done enough exercise, this job at work was done well enough, my art project is finished enough. It leads to a happier, more fulfilled me. Report
I guess on a certain level I am driven but in recent years have faltered due to some strenuous life situations. I'm working on getting back on track.

On a funny note - I live in the Atlanta area, so I know all about Stone Mountain. The only time I have been to the top is because I walked/hiked up the side - not because I thought it would be great exercise, but because I really hate those sky-lift things. :-) Report
I was raised with a great work ethic. Not just 100% at the 110% at the job. That's not to say I've been blessed to have pple along the way in my career who have helped me to be successful. Report
I am motivated to do my best. I am also motivated that if something needs to be done I just jump in and do it. However, I have learned that I need to be careful with this because others sometimes get very upset at you and think that you are taking over. The other side of the coin is that there are others that will take advantage of you and give you all of their work to do. So they can just sit back. It is a shame that we as the human race can't just work together for what is right in the sight of God. Report
Both of my parents died in their 40's. I am 44..the fact they died young motivates me NOT to be like them. My active lifestyle is a choice I make daily to live my life to the fullest, and to help others do the same. Report
I have been this way pretty much all my life, but just who I am. I too, do not think of it as not being satisfied, but what's next in life that I can accomplish!
This is a great reminder for me. Report
I am driven when it comes to serving God and others, but I have trouble being motivated to take care of me. I am slowly learning that to accomplish the things for God and others I need to be fit and healthy! Report
I don't know, i am really not sure. Report
Added to the comments that the author of this piece relates, this from my mother: You are not good help if you must be told what needs to be done. Report
I live by the motto, If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right!!! Report
I remember reading a story about a lowly labourer who always did a fantastic job of whatever he was asked to do. When asked why he took the trouble. He replied that he never knew who would see his work or when it would be important but he never wanted to be caught responsible for someone being hurt so he did the best job possible. That has stuck with me all my life and I think it is a good way to live, always doing the best job possible regardless of how humble or how important that is. Report
I like what poster ANNEMARGO said about being driven having a somewhat negative connotation. Motivation is something positive, energizing--something coming from within; being driven seems really more about compulsion or (like a car) being impelled from outside yourself. When I'm 'driven,' I find little satisfaction in what I've achieved, because the motivation feels false.
But then, I don't measure success in vertical climbing--my whole life has been moving into the depth of things rather than in measuring their height. Not ambitious, that's for sure, but building satisfying accomplishments.
And, yes, I struggle with motivation sometimes, but at least when I find it again, it's something I recognize and welcome--and it's profoundly stimulating. Driven? no, thanks. Report
I struggle with motivation and drive every single day. Report