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What motivates you?

There is more than one way to approach a project. We all know the person who waits until the last moment to write that term paper, pulling an all-nighter and just squeaking in under the wire. And we all know that other, rarer person who finished the term paper days or weeks in advance and always seems to be working and planning ahead. We knew them in college and we see them in other contexts, too.

People as investors, for example, demonstrate this kind of difference in how it is done. Incremental gains are not, perhaps, as satisfying to some as having an instant huge success might be. However, planning things out and taking them a step at a time can be much less stressful and worrisome. If the goal – here investment success – all hangs on a single throw of the dice, that can be exciting, risky and provide a real rush of adrenaline. But if that doesn’t work out, then what do you do? Of course, one must avoid planning for failure as that seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Depending on your personality, it might be better to be boring and march along to get things done. Mistakes tend to have less impact and there is usually a chance to recover and organize to take that step over again and get it right.

However, those who thrive on the excitement, pressure and risk might tell you that without it, they would not be motivated to take those necessary steps. Too long to wait to achieve success that way, they’d say, and would be off to take the giant leap. Those who want more sureness and take their time would be just as adamant that they would not take that leap and vastly prefer taking small steady steps towards their goal.

Something can be said for both sides.  What is your preference – and why?

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