Educate yourself
October 15, 2021

Drive: Where It Comes From, How I Cultivate It.


That Person

We all know that person, they are driven. And it seems they have an unlimited well of drive, they don’t tire, they seem to wake early, stay up late and are always on the go.

What gives, why can’t I wake up with that same type of resolve and drive? Maybe you ask that same question to yourself.

Two Sources of Drive

Drive comes from two directions, either external or internal. Externally, drive comes from others, a boss, a deadline, or even for some children, a parent. External drive however only produces temporary boosts in motivation, it doesn’t have in itself a lasting effect. That doesn’t mean it’s not helpful, a deadline can be very helpful to get you across the finish line on a particular task or assignment. Or, external drive can be used like jumper cables on a car. It’s a boost that aims to start an internal process.

Internal drive is the aim.

Another way of looking at this is to think of motivation and drive in terms of carrots or sticks. Carrots being some sort of positive reinforcement like a prize or promotion or an attaboy, sticks some sort of negative reinforcement like a consequence. But carrots and sticks are just another example of an external motivator, helpful for sprints, not a long-term solution.

A Word From A Professional

A psychologist by the name Marty Nemko describes the key to drive as wanting “to be productive for its own sake.”

I think we can break down this idea this way. A healthy internal drive is connected to two elements: a sense of fulfillment (element one) with building and producing (element two). If our idea of what it means to be “fulfilled” is also connected to our work, drive is a necessary consequence, it just happens.

If you can figure this out, you will be a person of “drive” that others talk about.

Maybe you have some pushback at this point. Like, the idea that we are fulfilled working seems shallow or maybe this is a fast lane to some unhealthy relationship with work — we need boundaries don't we?

Sure, I guess.

Perhaps you push back and say, “other things like family or rest should be greater motivating factors.”

I don’t think I disagree; family and times of rest are an important part of life, but these too can become idols we chase after and can become detriments to our own doing and building.

A Word From The Bible

Follow my thinking here for a moment. You might be surprised to learn what the Bible says here. In the first few chapters of the Bible God lays out for this new man and woman an assignment, “to work and keep the garden.” If you’re familiar with the Bible’s story of creation you may be tempted to associate work with the curse that comes later on. But the curse is toil, which is different than work. When God created man and woman he inserted them in a “workplace.”

Hmmmm. Interesting.

So, even if we were to try to think about work and our relation to it from a biblical perspective, we’re still left with this idea that work is good. Which means the opposite to be true as well, an aversion to work is bad. The Bible has a word that describes people who have an aversion to work. It calls that person a sluggard.

I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folder folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber and want like an armed man.

You can find that saying in Proverbs 24.

Be Driven My Friends

This idea that work is good and we should seek to enjoy it, and that when we learn to enjoy it, it creates in us some sort of healthy drive, is the idea we need to learn and is something we likely already affirm. The saying gets thrown around a lot, that if you,

“do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”

I don’t know who wrote that, but it’s definitely someone who connected those two thoughts: a sense of fulfillment and building and producing.

But let’s say you lack some initiative and drive, but you want to do something about it. Then learn to cultivate a love for doing and making, and seek to fall less in love with your discontentment. Who knows, you may just stumble upon an idea as old as time.

Be driven my friends.

Posted on:

Friday, October 15, 2021


Jesse Crowley