Motivation is a powerful thing. I recently read an article written by Benjamin P Hardy, who is a well-known writer who I follow on medium. In the article, Hardy writes about a simple thought experiment to motivate yourself to be more productive. It goes something like this; Imagine if someone has asked you how long you think it will take to achieve a goal you have set. And you replied by saying ‘3 months’. And then they asked you the probability of you actually achieving that goal in 3 months, and you replied with ‘maybe 60-70%’. Then they asked you to imagine that someone had a gun to the head of the person you value most in the world, be that your mother/father/partner etc, and that they would pull the trigger if you didn’t achieve that goal within 3 months. Now how likely are you to achieve that goal? 100% right?
So the difference between being 60-70% dedicated to a goal and being 100% dedicated is motivation. There was always a deadline, but only one situation had a negative consequence if the goal wasn’t achieved. Ever notice how in school when you had an assignment due, you leave it to the last day, but then on the last day, you would move mountains to get it done, because the negative consequence of not doing it suddenly became clear to you, and you couldn’t put it off any longer.
A more morbid example would be the military. If everything in the world is peaceful and no countries hate each other, then there is no motivation, no blood-thirsty soldiers. But all of a sudden when a country is attacked, or planes hijacked and sent into the side of a building, then you have an entire country calling for blood and an entire government green-lighting air-strikes. A negative consequence motivated them to take action.
Motivation, however, does have its flaws. It is very temporary, and it relies mostly on emotions. As a result, it comes and goes. If you are out of shape and you see someone who is ripped to shreds, you get a feeling of insecurity and feel that you could look better. So you join a gym and start eating well, but after a little while, you lose that motivation to look better. You don’t have that motivator around anymore so you lose the motivation. When it is there it is very powerful, but we fool ourselves into believing that it will last forever. It never does.
What does last forever is a drive. It’s one thing to be motivated, but being driven is like motivation on steroids with a jetpack and a V8 engine. Being driven means that every time you wake up you know what you have to do and you do it. You figure out where you want to be, and every day you push yourself in that direction. Having a drive means that no matter what happens along the way, you will never lose sight of the destination.
In his article, Hardy also talks about the difference between different jobs, more specifically how they reward the worker. He talks about two economies, the time and effort economy and the results economy. The time and effort economy rewards workers based on how much time they put into their job. They are paid an hourly rate, which means they lack the motivation to do better. Why work harder when you get paid the same amount each hour? The results economy rewards workers based on the results they achieve. This would be entrepreneurs and business owners, or anyone self-employed really. No one is writing them a paycheck every two weeks, as a result, they have the drive to provide for themselves, and to work harder.
What I find really interesting about the comparison between the two economies is how workers from each economy can fall into the trap of motivation. Someone who realises that they need to get a job to pay their bills and whatnot, it so motivated to have money in the bank that they will take the first thing that comes their way, but they will most likely get sick of it after a few months. An entrepreneur can be motivated to start a business, but it’s the entrepreneur who is driven that will take the business to new heights. The driven athlete will be the one with medals and trophies, the motivated one will be motivated further, but never enough. The driven worker will be made CEO, the motivated one will look in admiration or disgust.
It doesn’t matter how many motivational videos you watch or how many motivational pages you follow on Instagram, you will not achieve your true potential unless you have a drive that no one else can match.