Drive vs. Motivation. There’s A Difference.

It was New Year’s Eve day, a couple years ago, when I decided to go for a run. Half way through, it started to rain. Just a little. Then a lot.

But, by the time I came around and had to make a decision about taking another lap on my route, the rain had stopped. Almost. It was, like, spitting. Misting a little.

“I’m good”

I said that to myself, as I turned the corner away from my house and continued with another lap.

And within about another half-mile, the skies opened with a torrential downpour. I must have looked like a crazy person. People driving by were actually cheering for me – and I didn’t even know them.

I remember feeling in that moment as if the universe was washing the shitty year off of me in time for the calendar to start over. It was one of those crazy, magical moments.

But, I wonder, if it had been raining when I started, if I would have gone. Probably not. I probably would have waited it out. And that’s the moment I thought of while listening to an interview with David Goggins, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL, an ultramarathon runner, a motivational speaker and all-around badass – among other things.

I listened to his story of self improvement and one concept left me thinking. He compared drive and motivation – as separate concepts – making a compelling argument for the power of drive over motivation.

running 2

Drive gets you running in the rain, even if it already started before you left the house. It gets you running in ear warmers and mittens on cold mornings. It puts you in a place to ignore the freezing water in the OCR race, the frigid wind, the ridiculous elevation changes.

Drive is internal.

Motivation is not. It is external. It’s the “if I do this, I can (insert reward).” Eat the cookie. Fit into the jeans. Be a millionaire. Yada yada. You get the idea. Motivation is not owned. So motivation is easy to work around, if you’re not feeling it.

Drive keeps you going in the worst conditions because you know that life doesn’t let you make custom orders for weather or success or emotional strength. It was the only thing that kept me going through the brutal bucket brigade in Breckenridge, which led to one of my favorite moments with Ron.

For me, drive gets me through the side cramp. Because I know in a race, I won’t be able to stop for a cramp – so in training I can’t either. And I’m just a nobody runner.

Drive also gets me through knee tweaks and scorching runs and early alarm clocks. It also keeps me to my own commitment to writing and publishing every day, no matter where we are.

writing 1
Writing in Aravaipa.

To me, drive is more about who you want to be and what you demand of yourself rather than what you hope to get from it. If that makes sense.

Drive isn’t a trade off. It’s a constant.