How to be self-driven and make progress in life

Abhishek Kale
9 min readOct 5, 2017

So, there is external stimuli and then there is internal stimuli. External stimuli is when you are about to bungee jump but you need someone to push you off the edge and internal stimuli is when you take a crazy life threatening looking dive yourself and enjoy the jump in its full glory.

The funny part here is you complete the task in any case and have fun nonetheless and have a story to tell and rave about. However, the difference was in the execution. Sure the plan was yours to sum up courage and step up for a jump but the little push you needed was the external motivation.

Being self-driven is all about deciding to do something and then executing it without a doubt.

The defines Self-driven as:
(Of a machine) containing its own power source, as an engine or motor.

Let’s go ahead and understand how to be our own power source and be self-driven

“Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible.”

Understand the importance of something

Knowing is not enough you must understand. Knowing you have something important to do is not enough, you must know why it’s important.

Why in the sense of the larger picture. Because even exams are important and you know it and you also know the why but that does not help in taking away the stress or helps you any perform better. It actually adds up to your stress, you think, if I fail it’s going to cost me a lot.

Understanding the importance of something is understanding the direction in which you are heading.

Understanding is knowing what you will accomplish in the long run and what satisfaction you will gain after you complete a particular task efficiently.

It might not be instantly gratifying but no great achievement gives you instant satisfaction when you are on the way. You have to think in the long run, long term. When you truly comprehend what you will add to your life when you complete something that is when you will become self-driven.

Momentary hurdles, set backs and difficulties will be taken as an experience to move forward more efficiently. You will be encouraged by every little thing that you come over and every little set back you turn into a step ahead.

Such a rhythm will give you life long lessons.

When you comprehend the importance of all your actions which you take throughout the day and where they are eventually leading you, you will make the right choices and the larger picture will keep motivating you to move in its direction . The distractions along the way will not affect you as much.

Do it for yourself, no I don’t mean you should be selfish, I personally distaste selfishness, be a team player always, but if your team is messy, then play for the team and not for the people in it.

Don’t do it for the money, the fame or for recognition. Don’t do it because you want to prove something to someone, don’t do it to one up someone, never ever do something to impress anyone, never do something just because it’s popular at the moment and especially just because something is cool.

Do it for the right reasons. Play to enjoy the game not just for the prize. Do it for your family and people, the one’s that stand by you no matter what.

Identify those and if something you do benefits them as well then do it. Do something because you love it. The simple pleasure of doing something you care about is beautiful.

When you do something which you think holds value and making progress in it and getting better at it gives you satisfaction, then you will not procrastinate but actually would always look forward enacting it.

Understand the needs and necessities of your life, understand what the right direction for your life is, never let discouraging opinions of others make you change your course. Listen to everyone, respect everyone’s opinions but do what you think is fit because in the end it’s your journey.

If you go behind praise, money, fame and recognition and approval of others, remember you will burn out and you will be demotivated. That thing won’t be the driving factor in your life, it will be the exhausting factor of your life. Because no matter what you do, those are external factors which are not in your control, so if you never feel satisfied by doing what you do, how are you supposed to feel driven?

To be self-driven you need to have insane passion for something, the satisfaction should lie alone in the act and not merely in achievement.

Your passion for it will be rewarded when you put in the work that is required.

If you won’t then who will?

Your time and your goals are important, you know that right? and after contemplating over the point above, now you understand that as well.

If you do it for yourself and the things and people that matter to you, you won’t even feel pressurized to get them done in a systematic manner.

If you won’t then who will, might seem like a stress inducing statement however it’s a responsibility driven one.

You have to take responsibility of your goals and your dreams in life.

You have to understand that they are too important to disappear like smoke if you don’t act on them every single day. You must know that only you can make them come true, even if there’s just a minute chance of you successfully achieving what you have set out to, then it’s worth taking a chance and putting in the effort.

You ask why? It’s because the average life span of a human being in our era is 70, might be a far-fetched assumption too if you think about it honestly haha.

Everything you know will disappear after that much time, you tried will have more weight than you failed. Even if you achieve some part of it in the pursuit of what you want, you would have lived a happy life.

Understand this, things, just money and prestige will not give you satisfaction in the long run, so if you think like this “That If I fail I won’t even make a decent living for myself” Then I honestly tell you from what I believe in, that in trying to make a life, I think we can definitely make more than a living.

Because when you do what you love, you strive for excellence and progress, you strive for the next big feat you can achieve and that drives you automatically. That’s your inner fuel.

Other than that nothing is more important than your joy and peace in life. You are alive today and that is what is real. Tomorrow and everything else is an illusion.

It all depends upon, if you are willing to put in the work every single day for the rest of your life. Yeah one day you might retire but until then you have to take responsibility. Because again “If you won’t then who will?” and trust me once you create some momentum and start seeing the results of your work, it becomes an addiction and that will make you self-driven.

Have a sense of Well being

What I suggest you to do is right after you finish reading this article, sit quietly for a while, think of the things that are making you feel bad about your life, then also note down the reasons behind why does it make you feel bad?

When you find those reasons, you have found tangible problems to deal with.

Now you have very specific questions that demand specific answers. If you want to feel happy, you know what you have to do now.

Keep this in mind, the questions should be goal oriented, life pursuits driven and not associated with people. You shouldn’t be unhappy because of other people. You cannot change who they are, what they want and how they act. The only thing in your control is you.

The questions should be something along this lines,

“Waking up late in the morning, with absolutely no energy and enthusiasm for the day makes me feel unhappy.”

Yes! Sure that sounds like an answer but we can derive a couple of questions from that statement,

Like “Why do I wake up late?” “Why I don’t have any enthusiasm or energy for the day?”

After that step, figure out how you can wake up early, have more energy and be enthusiastic as you wake up. What will bring about such a change in your life is the answer.

It could be sleeping on time, reducing technology use, better nutrition, exercise and practicing mindfulness.

Now when you have those 2 lists cross tally them.

Cross out a question for an answer. I wake up late can be cancelled out when you sleep on time and get up early.

Problem to solution.

Start doing the things which will make you feel satisfied and stop doing those that make you feel horrible. As simple as that. Isn’t as easy to act out but it works.

What this will do is, it will build a general sense of well-being for you. Every day you will wake up fresh and excited for the day. You will notice that the dark clouds of inactivity are lifting and you are feeling better about life.

Asking the right questions and finding their answers is a very important step in every pursuit and action in life.

I always stress a lot on being very contemplative in my blogs. More often I see not asking the right questions and deriving the right answers is what diminishes our drive.

Create an exciting environment for yourself, nitpick all those little things you are messing up and start fixing them, the happier, the more excited and a stronger sense of well being you have every day the more powerful your drive will become.

Build a play list

Now enough of work, you so serious and dedicated person. Don’t get so submerged in making something of your life.

What I mean by building a play list is, not just songs but a lot of things.

However I seriously encourage you to make a new playlist for yourself. Find newsongs, find songs that resonate with your goals, I mean they have the right lyrics to pump you up, the right mood to make you feel the right things and the right beats to get you jumping.

The type of music you listen to greatly affects your thinking process.

Music associated with unpleasant events makes you feel unpleasant and that which is associated with good memories makes you feel amazing. I have a whole article ready on this very topic, if possible I will make it available for you here. So I strongly encourage you to build a new playlist for yourself.

If you have been listening to the same music from a decade please freshen up your environment right now I insist, you will feel the magic of new music I assure you.

Find new music for a new time and let it groove you to the beats of change.

Whenever I am free, I make time for finding new artists and new type of music. Its appreciating new talent and it makes you feel great.

Along with developing your taste pallet, it grows your brain. The article I will be posting on music will make you believe what I am saying here.

But what do I mean when I say build a play list in the broader sense?

I mean develop some hobbies, get deeply interested in things that make life worth living, plan some activities for a month, go trekking, visit a local wildlife sanctuary, visit a wine festival, learn new recipes, appreciate art, visit places in your city that you haven’t as of yet and find out what’s it all about? And if you find something further interesting at that place, start exploring that particular thing. Also follow ongoing or early childhood hobbies, like painting is for me.

All work and no play makes you a donkey.

Also variety is the key to change and growth, refer bodybuilding. If you have been doing the same things from a couple of years, it’s definitely time to shake up your entire surrounding right now.

Build a playlist, play some sports on weekend, go somewhere you haven’t been before, get to know something that has interested you from a long time, meet new people listen to their stories attentively, expand your horizon.

Doing this will give you a fresh jolt of energy which will propel you and make you feel crazy excited for life.


“The world belongs to passionate driven people.” — Jack Welch

Don’t go behind things, achievement and name.

Go behind Passion, Interests and growth. No 1 thing for being self-driven.

Understand this simple fundamental truth, you cannot make you forcefully achieve greatness in something which you are not passionate about.

For some people I understand money is the driving factor, however they have a clear goal in their mind, making more money makes them happy, therefore they are willing to push themselves beyond their comfort zone to make it.

If you are not one of those, then you cannot just work for the money. You have other needs and desires. Passion in anything is very important for drive, develop that.

Deep interest in living needs to be cultivated, deep interest in knowing things needs to be cultivated, a balance of work and play needs to be made. Such a balanced sense of well-being makes you self-driven.

Originally published at on October 5, 2017.



Abhishek Kale

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