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Ebo Whyte: What is driving you?

We are all driven by one thing or the other. Your happiness, your health, your impact, these are all determined by what drives you. So, it is important to pay attention to what is driving you. Just one note: if you don’t consciously and intentionally decide what should drive you, you would still be driven by something by default.

Here now are some of the things that could drive people. I share them with you so you could check what is driving you and if you don’t like what is driving you, then you can decide what you want to drive you. Here we go:

Fear. Some people are driven by fear. Fear of failure is one, fear of what people will say is another, these are but just a few of what people are afraid of. But that is not all. For most people driven by fear, they have not even asked themselves what they are afraid of and why. They just have this undefined sense of fear that holds them back.

The sense of fear does not only hold people back but it steals joy and hope from them. Those driven by fear die a thousand deaths before their time. But there is worse from being driven by fear. You see, whatever you fear, you attract to yourself and so those who allow fear to drive them put themselves in a no-win situation. The thing they fear will eventually come upon them.

Fame. Fame is the driver of a lot of people in their youth but some never outlive it. People driven by fame tend to work very hard when they are obscure but once they become known, most of them stop doing what made them famous in the first place. This is the reason a lot of stars shine for only a brief moment.

Those driven by fame say things like, I want the world to know about me or hear about me. In Akan they say, we do not live for long life; we live for fame. People driven by fame will do anything for attention; they will sacrifice any principles and any values just to be famous.

The sad thing about fame is that most of those who are driven by it never get it and the few who get it find it very empty and oppressive and this forces them into self-destructive lifestyles.

Money. A line in one of the books I read in my youth still stands out in my mind. It said, the kingdom of God runs on righteousness but the kingdoms on earth runs on money. Money is perhaps one of the most controversial issues in life. Let’s get something clear right from the beginning: money is not evil.

The bible does not say that money is evil; what it says is, the love of money is the root of all evil. And the same bible also says, money answers all things. So, I don’t believe that money is evil but there is a principle in life that says that money is the reward for your contribution. In other words, money is not the main thing and when you make it the main thing you miss out in life.

Those driven by money do not mind sacrificing their relationships and their own health to get it. The problem is that when the money comes, you will need people who love you around you or the money will not do you any good. The problem with money is that you cannot take it along with you and someone who does not know how hard you worked for your money is the one who gets the chance to spend it for you.

Sexual desire. Sex is wonderful but to be driven by sexual desire is to become a slave to what you should have been master of. Only the hypocrite will deny that he has sexual desires but to be driven by it is to court dishonour and shame. Those driven by sexual desire find themselves losing the respect of society. People driven by their sexual desire are easy to manipulate and to trap.

Power/control. When Nixon was President, one of his advisors was on record for saying that he was willing to sell his mother for power because he can then use the power to get his mother back. And that describes the attitude of people driven by the desire for power or control. They do not care what they sacrifice to get the power. We see that in Africa. Some African politicians are willing to destroy their countries for power. Power is sweet and seductive. Many people who taste power get hooked and cannot give it up without a fight.

Acceptance. It is a normal human need to desire acceptance and attention but when you allow yourself to be driven by it, then you are in trouble. Those driven by the desire for acceptance are willing to manipulate others and to bury who they really are just to get others to accept them. Those driven by the desire for acceptance find themselves at the mercy of anyone who promises to give them the acceptance they crave.

Greed. Those driven by greed are often no different from those driven by money. The problem with greed is that it never stops and it never has enough. And when you are driven by greed, anyone who gets in the way of your greed or of getting your way becomes an instant enemy who needs to be destroyed by any means possible.

Towards the end of the mighty Roman empire, a picture is painted of the kind of decadence the people had descended into. It is said that at every party or feast, feathers were provided. And people would eat till they could not eat anymore and then they would use the feathers to tickle their throats so they could throw up. And after throwing up, they would return to the table to continue eating.

I see this as a good picture of greed. The greedy never stops and whatever he does is aimed at enabling him to grab some more. The biggest problem with being driven by greed is that you end up without any love in your life and you also don’t get to enjoy what you have amassed.

Fear of God. It was the fear of God that enabled Joseph in the Bible to say no to the seduction of Mrs Potiphar. It was the fear of God that enable him to embrace his brothers who had sold him into slavery when he found them at his mercy.

To be driven by the fear of God is to be driven by wisdom. The problem with being driven by the fear of God is that you could appear stupid to the world for most of your life. But when the reward for your being driven by the fear of God kicks in, people are left in no doubt that the path you chose was superior.

So, there you have them: some of the things that drive us. Question, what is driving you? And where do you think it will lead you?

The writer James Ebo Whyte is a playwright and an author. He is also a motivational speaker and the founder of Roverman Production.