What does it mean to “have drive”?

Most people are looking to find their drive, recruiters want to find people with some of that drive, and ofc, to create a successful startup you should have plenty of passion and drive. Why is it that everyone is looking for drive, but no one really knows what it means? Well, at least most people I ask have a hard time really explaining what it is. So it made me reflect on the word and if I had it, and if not how would one get it?

In this context, having drive is defined from the field of psychology:

an innate, biologically determined urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need.

Drive is something you feel

That is one incredibly nicely crafted sentence, and it seems really strong. I would say it actually becomes more strong, once you look closer at the words “innate” which means natural and inborn, “determined” which means having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change, and “urge” meaning; a strong desire or impulse. Because the drive is not something you come up with in your mind, it’s something that is felt, strongly inside of yourself, from 1-100. 


Do you really want “drive”?

When reflecting on these sentences, words, and the meaning behind it, I can’t really say that it looks like a fantastic thing to be driven or have drive. The stories of successful people that gave it all, it makes more sense. When people have such a strong urge, a biological feeling, such a firm decision to satisfy a need or to make a goal happen – no wonder you see people do something amazing, but also no wonder you see people get exhausted, or go through mental illnesses. Because, the stronger your drive, the bigger the need is to attain that goal or to satisfy that need. What happens when you can’t hack it? When you, no matter how much you try, can’t seem to make the goal happen?

Well, I don`t know and my answer would only be a wild guess, and that won`t give anyone any value. This is for you to reflect upon: If the drive is extremely strong, is it possible to give up – or would you continuously just keep on going?


Where does the impulse come from?

So how does one attain such a deep feeling? Does it come to you when you are born? Does it slowly grow into your being? Or is it suddenly created inside of you, due to an experience?

It’s hard to know if someone is born with it, but the other two can definitely be true should we believe stories from successful people. If a person experiences depression, has a truly horrific childhood or someone close dies early on in their lives, that person could develop a strong urge to help people, to make sure others do not have to feel the same. People who were bullied can grow up to become a fighter against bullies to ensure less people experience the same. The urge to attain a goal (Get rid of bullying) can be very strong, due to feelings felt over a long duration of time. William James, has with his theory “once and twice-born”, come up with an explanation:

William James, in his famous book The Varieties of Religious Experience, (1902) draws a contrast between what he calls “once born” and the “twice born” people.  Once born people appear biologically predisposed to happiness. They are relatively untroubled by their own setbacks as well as by the suffering the world; they rarely speak ill of others; they don’t complain much; they tend not to be fearful or angry. Today we might call them happy-go-lucky, easy-going or upbeat.

“By contrast, twice borns feel there is something wrong with reality that must be rectified. They have a pessimistic view of the world; they experience more ups and downs in life; they wish the world could be different from it is. Today we might call them neurotic, anxious, or unstable. “

Create clarity and your drive will be gold

On a side note: It might not feel the best to have a strong drive, but I think once one learn to live with it, and how to deal with it and direct the energy towards something constructive – it will take you further than most people in life. If drive is a feeling and biologically indoctrinated inside of you, then the goal must be to clarify what it means. If you become consciously on why you feel an urge to resolve an issue, reflecting until you are in a state of clarity will make the “drive” more constructive, focused, and attainable. If you feel drive inside of you, without realizing what it stems from it can lead to frustration, unclarity, and ultimately lead to unfulfillment, especially if it is deep-rooted. What then, with people not having an incredibly strong drive, what makes them do what they do? Is this when start showing destructive tendencies? 

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