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by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, Peak Performance
"Individuals on the path of mastery are driven from within. Their primary motivation isn’t success or fear, and it’s certainly not satisfying others or conforming to a certain peer group or social norms. Rather, their motivation originates from an internal desire to improve and engage in an activity for its own sake. This doesn’t mean that each day of their pursuit will be exciting or pleasurable. But it does mean that they will show steadfast enthusiasm about the entire journey.
Take, for example, an Olympic swimmer on the path of mastery. She is unlikely to be enthusiastic about every workout. And while she’ll certainly be excited for the Olympic Games, that still won’t be her primary motivation either. Rather, her focus will be on her overall progression as a swimmer—on pushing her physical and psychological capabilities and evolving her stroke and its relationship with the water. Following races in which she wins gold medals, after all the other competitors have filed out of the arena to celebrate or sleep, she’ll be alone in the pool working on her stroke, making subtle adjustments, trying to get better even though she’s just been crowned the best there is.