This is something I spend quite a bit of time thinking about. What gets me out the door in below freezing temperatures to go for a run or to go into a gym packed with a bunch of other sweaty people, when I could just plop down on the couch, crack open a beer and veg out?
We all need a reason to do the things we do, and if that reason is a very good one, I think it just helps enforce how serious we are about it, especially in goal oriented items like climbing the corporate ladder, training for triathlons, marathons, or just keeping yourself in shape.
I know I'm a competitive person, and I think knowing where this comes from, and using it in a positive way is a great way to achieve the things I want. I have never been the type of person so competitive that I like to see others do poorly. I think it's great seeing others go out there and "set the bar" high...
If everyone was equal in all abilities, it wouldn't be much fun to watch Lance Armstrong get back into cycling after a few years off (which I have enjoyed watching quite a bit), he has a natural ability that one could argue can't be matched. But, at the same time, by knowing that one person can set out and accomplish something amazing through hard work and determination, we know others can do the same.
For me, looking back to the few years I spent in the Navy gives me a bit of insight to where my competitiveness comes from. I started out at the bottom, and it didn't take me long to figure out that I didn't want to be there! The ranking system of the military works well for many reasons, but I took issue quickly of anyone being "better" than me, as I have never been the type of person to settle on taking my place and just simply living with it. I know certain things light a fire in me, like, being told I can't do something. I remember when I was getting ready to get out of the Navy, I was asked why I wanted to get out...I responded "because I really want to go to college".....To which a certain higher ranking person responded "Oh, you won't finish college, everyone says they will, and they never do". Talk about pissing me off then, but now looking back on it, it was the "perfect" response, and I have a couple of degrees to show for it. This same type of "fire" can be and will be applied to many different aspects of my life.
So I ask, what drives you?