Drive – Where does it come from?

Where do we get this desire to strive?  Is that the definition of Drive?  I was walking, jogging, and running last weekend (just a smidge) and I was making that last little loop back on the crazy eight that was the route I had chosen.  I had a decision to make: go the short route back to the car or finish the complete figure 8 a 2nd time.  So that ultimate crossroad what do I do?

I mean I had just run to first base 3 times, walked the bases 2 times, jogging at least 4 straight aways and RUN the hill behind the school… I had done pretty good for it only being my 2nd real work out in history (okay since I turned 20).  I had accomplished a lot I didn’t NEED to do the last lap around, I didn’t HAVE to, no one was pushing me and no one would know nor would ANY ONE care if I did it or not.  Well this time, I choose the longer route.  I decided to complete the figure 8 on the simple fact of I wanted to say I had done it. I wanted to tell MYSELF I did it.   

This sparked the question for me… Why was I driven to make this extra step or complete this extra length?  I mean we all know how much I hate exercising and how much I refuse to join the I LOVE TO RUN CLUB (I love you Sarah and Eddie any way).  So why after I had completed all I needed to, did I want to push myself just that extra teeny tiny step forward.  I wanted to PROVE I could, I wanted to push MY OWN SELF, I had the hop in my step to do it, so I decided to power through… now I didn’t jog any of it like the first time around and I didn’t quite run the hill like the first time, but I walked it with brisk commitment. 

As I was making that walk around the school I began thinking about drive… Where did this sense of competition come from?  I wasn’t competing with anyone but my own mind, but still it was a competition.  So where in me did this DEEP sense of competition arise?  My parents did not seem competitive and their lives do not reflect ones of people who were driven by the need to be successful or out do their siblings or friends.  So where did I get this overwhelming sense of competition really come from? 

I was in plays and musicals as far back as pre-school (I had to be better to get the solos), I was in soccer, softball, volleyball, swim team (compete for times), and basketball at various times in elementary and Jr. High.  But a knee injury (not sure whether dramatized or real) removed me from sports my 8th grade year and beyond.  During Jr. High, I was in band and entered competitions with the band and solo on my flute (I sucked but I competed).  In High School, I moved to competing with public speaking and then back in plays and musicals (which did not produce public results until my senior year).  I know I was always in competition to get the A in class, score better than my classmates, and try to be the best at the things I did… Again I wonder where that comes from? 

It doesn’t seem to be genetic, parental modeling, or extended family instilled… that leaves societal culture, media influence, and mostly academic or school environments.  There were moments that I would play games in Awana’s or Good News Bears that I LOVED and I always feed on the energy of the competition (yes I had to be coached on how to NOT be a sore loser and good sportsmanship in my developmental years, etc), but I wanted to play, compete, and of course WIN!!!  Can I give credit to the schools of my youth for having given me the drive I have?  Was it the organized sports I was in as a child that taught me, coached me, yelled me into obedience to win or STRIVE to win at least.  It’s not if you win or lose it’s how you play the game???? Since I did a lot of losing you would think the competitive edge would wear off… but it only seems to make me work harder and stronger and dig deeper (at least at times in my life).

Or did the messages from the media and our American culture to build it better, do whatever it takes to win, be the next star, be better than the rest of the world; that I grew up with add that last touch of power to the drive I have now?  This drive that keeps me from settling, keeps me asking what I need to do to do better, how to improve myself, my health, my income, my life.  Sometimes its hard to find the source… but I am glad I still have some, without it I can’t image the person I would be instead.