What Motivates You?

by JT McGee

Fairly short (bonus) post today inspired by a recent conversation with a few different people with completely different backgrounds.

The question was, essentially, what motivates you best? What gets you pumped to do something?

For me, I like:

1) Mysteries – I like problems to solve. Especially problems where the answer isn’t so much the answer itself, but how you get from point A to point B. I think this is why I like finance so much. You can have completely different inputs as someone else yet come to the same conclusion. There has to be some kind of hypothesis testing in the problem, though. I hate problems with an immediate concrete answer, as there is no need to solve it.

2) Competition – My brother was thumbing through a list of board games as my mom stood nearby. He found one, and read off that there was no score to be kept with the game. My mom said almost immediately, “why would you want to play that?” Now I know where I get it.

3) Uncertainty – I like to do things where the benefit is massive, even if uncertain. Taking a 1:40 stab at a 50:1 payoff is more fun to me than a 100% shot at a 1.25 payoff. This doesn’t always apply, but for the most part I favor uncertainty over certainty. I like gambling when the relative payoff makes the longshot a statistically good choice to make. Kinda like outrunning the police. I’ll still take the freebies, though.

4) Impossibility – What’s more fun than doing something labeled “impossible?” If I know something can’t be done, it just makes me want to do it ten times more.

So those are what motivate me to do something. How about you?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Evan November 8, 2011 at 00:21

I am not really a competitive person but for me it is about problem solving…making a game out of my goals and succeeding.


PKamp3 November 8, 2011 at 08:51

1) Educating others (you don’t say!).
2) Competition. It probably comes from the Y Chromosome, although yeah, I see it in my family tree.
3) The doubts of others. Maybe this one is ‘proving people wrong when they doubt me’. Either way, it motivates me.


JT McGee November 9, 2011 at 00:11

Your #3 seems to be a common thing with software/tech people. Interesting.


krantcents November 8, 2011 at 13:16

Degree of difficulty motivates me. I want to be the only one who can do it. I am self motivated, but I like challenges too.


Doctor Stock November 8, 2011 at 18:53

Success motivates quite often… but character is developed by how one responds to “failures.” Do they motivate people with the same urgency? Perhaps less pleasure is found in failure, but more satisfaction when it is overcome.


LaTisha @YoungAdultFinances November 8, 2011 at 19:31

I’m so motivated by competition it’s unreal. I think I’m doing ok until I get blasted out by someone else. Then I kick it up a notch. I’m about to turn this website business up to the max! Here’s to 2012! I’ll drink to that yeah-yeahyuh (That’s my Rhianna voice lol)


JT McGee November 9, 2011 at 00:11

Cheers to the freakin’ weekend!


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