Friday, July 13, 2012


"People don't walk into the top spot.  They're driven." - Eugene O'Kelly, Chasing Daylight

Why are some people driven and others are not?

I ask this question as someone who (so far as I can tell) is not particularly driven.   Certainly I am able to dedicate periods of time and concentration to a task or tasks, but that inevitably fades away and I seem to come back to my normal workaday and life pace.

I write because it seems to me that so much of life runs to the driven (and therefore, many of the rewards) that have to ask the question "Could I be driven?"  More importantly, "Should I be?"

Or is being driven something which we all possess but only in the context of something in which we are interested?  Does "Driven" equate to "Enthusiasm"?

It occurs to me no.  Enthusiasm can be about one or many things; driven is a way of life.

Could I become driven?  Could I perform at the uber-high level of performance consistently?  I honestly don't know.  The driven have a vision, a goal, that they constantly keep in front of them to keep them going.  They also seem to naturally be able to maintain these high levels of focus.

That's certainly not me.  I have no overwhelming vision to keep me going - in fact, just keeping myself in the game from day to day is something of an accomplishment.  I am also not a person who can really maintain a high level of focus on one thing - after all, there are plenty of others things that also need to happen along with that one thing (sometimes driven people don't remember this).

Perhaps too, that thing I want is more nebulous than a specific thing or a specific accomplishment.   How do you become driven to a lifestyle and pace of life that is almost the antithesis of driven? 

The times that I have tried to drive myself - to become focused, energetic, active - have generally been periods that I can only maintain for a short period of time.  At some point the energy fades, the focus dissipates, and I'm again trapped with the meaninglessness of  most of what I have focusing on.  In fact, I often feel less engaged than when I started.

There's an exception, of course:  when it is something that I am interested in.  Then my interest does not die and the energy does not fade; in fact, the flame is only fanned.  But this often seems to fade as well - in this case not so much from a lack of ability to maintain as a lack of a place for that interest to take me.

If focus can mean succeeding (in the larges sense of the word), driven can lead to focus.  But enthusiasm can lead to focus as well - let's be honest, you can't focus long term on anything that you're not at some level engaged in.

So maybe I'm asking the wrong question yet again.  It shouldn't be "Can I become driven?" but "What am I enthusiastic about?  What do I love to do?"  Either way, that will give me the thing to focus on - and the energy to do it.

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