Drive is the simple urge, the motivation, the desire to succeed. It’s a key ingredient in accomplishing what you want, because it energizes you to take action in a wide variety of situations, both favorable and unfavorable.
Some people have lots of drive. Some people don’t. The curious fact is that unless we’re already working 24/7, most of us wish we could have more of it.
Fortunately, you can.
There are some specific, proven, relatively easy ways to increase your drive and thereby make a significant difference in your level of productivity and success.
Here are some of those ways:
One of the simplest ways to increase your drive to succeed is to pay more attention to what you are doing. If you make your basic choices without thinking, it’s easy to fall into idleness, to watch a few more hours of TV, to divert yourself with chores or by talking to family and friends.
If you think more carefully about what you’re going to do next, however, you’ll probably find that you often prefer pushing forward a task, project, or goal that’s more helpful, more rewarding, or more meaningful to you.
After a while, choosing these opportunities will become more of a habit, or at least a pattern, and you will feel more comfortable spending extra time generating more and better results.
In addition, you will strengthen your ability to focus, which will aid your ability to direct your focus on whatever task, project, or goal you prefer.
At any level of motivation, there are tasks, projects, and goals that feel too difficult to tackle. By removing some of the obstacles that contribute to this feeling of difficulty, you increase the likelihood that you’ll be willing to spend more time working on them.
Some of the obstacles that increase the difficulty of attempting a task, project, or goal include:
- Complexity, intricacy, or sophistication.
- Length of time required to complete it.
- Amount of effort required.
- Shortage of needed resources.
- Lack of needed tools.
You can usually identify which of these or other obstacles are making you feel reluctant to work on a particular task, project, or goal. Once you do, you can take steps to reduce or eliminate the problem, which will nearly always open the door for you to push forward more readily.
You can also break down a task, project, or goal into smaller steps. This will tend to make their obstacles smaller, or easier to eliminate, so you can more readily get started on each of the steps. Smaller agenda items are also faster to finish. (If you’re not sure exactly how to divide up a larger agenda item, it’s OK to ask for help.)
Add Some Fun
Gamification is a proven strategy for making people more involved in an activity and willing to spend more time doing it. You can get the same effect with your own agenda items by adding to them an element of fun or reward.
For example, years ago I got myself to work longer hours at a stretch – although I nearly always had the strong urge not to – by instituting a system of points that earned me rewards. The longer I worked on a project, the more points I gave myself: one point for the first hour of work, two points for the second hour of work without a break, three points for the third hour, and so forth.
I could use these points to “buy” time in which to do something more enjoyable.
There are many other ways to add fun to your responsibilities:
- Celebrate milestones, successes, and special days
- Cultivate and share with a “work buddy”
- Make your breaks more enjoyable
- Vary your schedule
- Set yourself interesting challenges
- Provide yourself with some pleasant music or background sounds
and so forth.
External forces can also add to your drive. For example, when you make yourself accountable to another person or group, you engage an entirely new set of incentives that will tend to keep you working hard even when your internal motivation flags.
The simplest way to do this is to tell a colleague, friend, or family member that you intend to complete a task, project, or goal by a certain date. A “work buddy,” team, boss, or support group can also be brought in to add some accountability.
Even if they never mention it to you, just knowing these people will be aware if you don’t make your deadline will boost your drive to accomplish it.
Look for Inspiration
One of the best ways to increase your drive may be to find a role model to follow. Look for someone who succeeded at something – or operated in a way – you admire. Such a person’s history and accomplishments can provide you with inspiration to do better in your own work and life.
You can choose someone you know personally, or a cultural hero whose efforts and exploits are legendary. Either way, reviewing what they did, how they did it, and the obstacles they overcame will tend to increase your own willingness to work hard, endure setbacks, and persevere in whatever directions you’re trying to go.
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