Motivation is a funny thing. We all have it for certain things that are important to us but some people just seem to have it all the time, for everything. I consider myself to be one of those people. Now don't get me wrong, I have moments of zero motivation, moments of procrastination and laziness but I think most people that know me well would describe me as a motivated and determined person.
So what is it that drives me? One of the big things is just the fear of being average.
Objectively, I can see there is nothing wrong with being average. By definition, half of us are worse than average so average isn't that bad. But for me, average is simply not good enough and I will work my butt off to do whatever it takes to not be average.
Why and exactly when this started I have no idea. I suspect it is just in me or it certainly has been since a very young age.
I remember my high school days. I could never understand those kids who just wanted to pass and get 51% on an exam. I was the person whose goal was 100%. Anything other than an 'A' may as well have been a fail. In my first year of University I passed one subject with a 60% mark and I was horrified!
Adulthood has been no different - the focus has just moved from school marks to career performance and then sports. At work, my worst nightmare is to have an annual performance review and be rated as a "solid performer". In my head, Solid = Average = not good enough.
When I started training, I had a very hard time in the beginning picking up movements. For example, it took me forever to learn kipping pullups (I still have no idea why). I saw these other new members (lets just call them uncoordinated men) pick up kipping after only a couple of tries and here I was a couple of months later still struggling. It was extremely frustrating for someone like me who does not like to be the worst at anything! Then determination and fear of being average kicks in and I work extra hard to get this movement that is eluding me. I would practice 3x a week outside of the gym, going to the local playground to practice kipping when no one was looking (back then I was too embarrassed to actually practice at the gym).
Now some people may read this and think I must never be happy - but this couldn't be further from the truth. For me, reward comes from effort. The fear of being average drives me to work hard and improve myself, and from that effort you get rewarded with a sense of achievement.
It is extremely satisfying to know that you were once horrible at gymnastic movements and now they could be considered one of your strengths. It is extremely satisfying to study for an exam in a subject you know you suck at and come out at the end with good marks. It is extremely satisfying to work with a business coach on an area that is lacking and then have your staff tell you that is has become a strength.
If I was satisfied with being average I would never push myself to be better. I would never achieve some of the things I have. Sometimes though, even with effort and improvement, the best I can manage is average (hello running) and I am ok with that. I am also a realist and know the limitations of my abilities.
I learned from an early age that if you put in the effort you will get results (eventually). So no matter what it is, keep trying, keep trying to get better and reward will come.