Most of us have come through a system that has taught us to leave everything to the last minute. During our school daze, most of us left studying for the exam till the night before. In the workplace, the practice of just-in-time was applied to most projects. And, at most social events, the crowd rolls-in just before things get started. Nothing, it seems, is achieved more than in the last minute. As Michael Traylor told us, 'If it weren't for the last minute, a lot of things wouldn't get done'.
The School Of Hard Knocks has taught us well: leave everything till the last minute. When you think about it, though, by behaving in this way, we're handing over our future to someone else - examiners, bosses, function organizers. We're no longer in the driver's seat of our life: someone else is driving our bus.
Along the way, we've come to believe that external motivation is a key factor in our success. We seem quite prepared to have a boss looking over our shoulder to push us to do our best work. Or we trust that a mentor will help steer us in the right direction. As we age, however, things change. Most of us become increasingly independent, experience less supervision, and can no longer rely on some external force to keep us going in the right direction.
The principal source of motivation must now come from within - especially as we age. A key is to ensure that we always have something to look forward to: a reason to get out of bed each day. And that 'something' needn't be earth-shattering. It could be finishing a task, weeding the garden, hugging grandkids when they visit, going to the local library, or whatever.
It's important that it's you driving your bus. As the legendary Sam Walton said, 'It's not what you drive but what drives you.