Before I wrote this, I was watching a YouTube video. Was it the best use of time? Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that.
The subject of this particular video was Elon Musk and if you know much about this enigma of a man, you would understand the awe poured so lavishly into the language that was used.
However, one word jumped at me.
I have come across this word too many times in my short life and I do believe that it stirs up the same stereotype in most minds – the individual walking as though blind to the world around them. Consumed by passionate zeal, they pursue some goal almost to a fault. When they are successful, they lead humanity to a new frontier and when they are not successful, they become a cautionary tale.
However, what struck me in thought and compelled me to write this is the more literal iteration of the word.
To be driven in more literal terms assumes one very important thing – the loss of a will.
It implies that something or someone else is in control. Thus, you are DRIVEN by a DRIVER. I believe this concept is not in any sense novel to most people because it is obvious, but I also believe it is so obvious that its essence is missed.
We attribute the word as a descriptor for high-achievers and purposeful people in our society without realizing that if success would be an ideal, then there is a compulsory need for one’s will to be so lost in someone or something that it dictates how their life will be lived.
I hope this should cost you a moment of conscious thought because most of us would agree that we wish to do something great with our lives. I want that for myself too and in considering this word, I remember that great things come at a cost no less than surrender.
The word “surrender” may feel like old English in this century but I believe it is quite the perfect synonym for “driven”.
To be driven is an act of surrender.
It might not seem obvious in our day because cars do not have a will. Thus, if living things are the only entities with a will, how can we operate as non-living so that we can attain goals that are otherwise unattainable?
At this point, I turn to words I have trusted for most of my life.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2
I find the concept of a living sacrifice to be odd and I cannot claim to fully understand but it does help us, in this case, to give language to the idea of being driven despite having a functional will.
Basically, to be driven is to be alive but to live as though dead. The great thing though is the next verse presents us an action point to being living sacrifices (aka driven) and that is to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Two things to note in this verse include the acknowledgment that this is a transformational process and that the solution is an ongoing activity. Put in perspective, the verse insinuates a need for a change and emphasizes that this change can only happen through repetitive and consistent action.
Armed with the knowledge that we are not born with the ability to be driven and the need to acquire this status by consistent action, one would assume that I can now go ahead and be the best I can be. The unfortunate reality though is that even though I can, I do not necessarily engage.
I think many would read this and understand how crippling this thought can be. Apostle Paul, who wrote the scripture above actually confessed to this same struggle just a few chapters before this one.
The vicious cycle of wanting to do your best and flaking out when the work comes thus leading to the need again is one that is familiar across time and place. It is why we look at the likes of Elon Musk and say with utmost certainty, something else must be in control.
We could go down that lane and discover some great gems, but I would like to infer something I think to be quite interesting. Remember that from the portion of scripture quoted above, we know that one has to engage the consistent action of “renewing the mind” to undergo the transformation necessary to become a living sacrifice (aka driven).
My inference is that some activities which we would consider as being driven are in fact how we can get to be driven. By this I mean, that “renewing the mind” can often look like the car (you) is already in motion (driven).
I think renewing the mind is necessary before you are driven, and it is how you stay driven. Let’s call it the fuel.
I would like to end this with what I believe “renewing the mind” looks like. Glory Aimufua, a dear friend of mine once communicated a concept that struck me as odd. In her words, she believed that to do anything well, one had to “brainwash” themselves by engaging consistently with it. I think this is similar to what I believe “renewing the mind” to be.
To undertake a proper brainwash, one would have to be disciplined enough to regularly have intentional contact with that concept or context. In essence, renewing the mind is providing your mind the opportunity to access the thing you desire to be driven by.
I like the terms “renewing” and “transformation” because it points to something very important and that is as you create these intentional instances of contact, you are in effect giving your mind a newness and/or a different form.
It then makes sense that after making a habit of renewing our mind, you seem to be a different human – one that is possessed by an all-consuming passion.
I hope you see that to be driven, much like a car there is a very important need to first build the momentum to at least start. I also hope that you are aware of the very real risk that whatever you do this with, will drive you.
This is a good thing because to make the journey to success you cannot drive yourself, you must be driven by something or someone else.
In summary, it is an illusion to imagine you are the driver. I am more inclined to say, you are the car, but you can decide what or who sits in the driver’s seat.
– EZEONYEKA GODSWILL