Personality is fine and good.
Personal interests, likes and dislikes, general and specific behavior? Good to know about.
Motivation though, is the "why" of everything. The secret behind everything else controllable by the individual.
Most people can't help their personality. At best they can learn to turn the volume of certain elements up or down. They can mute some things and alter the quality or feel of others. Some will alter their personality through experiences and others will have their personalities altered through design or twists of fate, for good or ill. This is all true.
But motivation is the end result of our personalities mingling with the outer world. Our motivations define who we really are by defining the reasoning behind every action and reaction we undertake.
With all this said you might say that knowing my motivations is the key to really understanding me.
What are my motivations?
Survival comes to mind first and foremost. You could call it the foundational motivation of my life. In my experience of life I've had my ability to survive directly threatened numerous times. Unlike many people my awareness of my own mortality came early in life and was highly pronounced. The inevitability of eventual death is absolutely understood by me as is the delicate nature of life itself.
What does that all mean? It means that I understand that life is not infinite and that there is a ticking time limit to life that started the moment I came into existence. Much of our early human existence is dedicated to reaching a point of autonomy that will allow us to take full control of our actions. The thing is most of us take that journey toward our autonomy for granted. We waste away huge chunks of our lives before many of us conceptualize the reality and scope of our existence and how short it actually is when measured against everything else.
I am therefore a person who constantly feels like I'm racing time.
It is this feeling of constant driving pressure that has shaped who I am. It is the reason I am a futuristic thinker and why I perhaps exhaust myself with unrelenting goal setting and preparation. It is the reason some people have described me as highly ambitious, deliberate, and calculating. It is also the reason I have sometimes been characterized as unfeeling and at times almost robotic about my life.
Underneath all of that is the simple fear that I will run out of time. Time for what, you might ask?
Time to live, to contribute, to find happiness, wellbeing, and peace of mind. Time to not always have to worry about the passage of time at all. Time for getting lost in the experience of living. Time to feel and dream and love, and want. Time to do all the things I want to do and have time left over at the end so that when death finally comes it can come in the garb of an old welcome friend and not an enemy plotting to assassinate me.
Immortality motivates me. Wanting to live beyond my physical life in some capacity. Most creator types feel this sentiment. Most people in general feel some kind of nagging desire to leave something behind or to not be forgotten. Maybe my feeling stem a little bit from the truth that I never got a fair shake at a healthy life where I could essentially do what I wanted. Having my autonomy disrupted and my life altered by illness and disability has made me someone that will never have full ownership of my life and body. So its no wonder that in some strange way I take solace from the idea of legacy. Be it material or biological.
Having a child for example is very important to me. Having a biological derivative of myself would in some ways make up for what was taken away from me. Does that mean I have any intention of living through my offspring? No. Never. But knowing a small part of me will live on because of my offspring is, for better or worse, a deep rooted personal desire of mine.
Self-actualization motivates me. Achieving and maintaining my full potential has become a driving source of purpose in my life. Especially knowing that the scope of my full potential has and will continue to fluctuate and change. Letting go of who I thought I would become has been a challenging undertaking. Just as understanding what I could still become is both empowering and daunting. Accepting myself has become chiefly important to my overall well being. Defying the beliefs of others has become a necessity. Demanding I be permitted to live as I wish, so far as it harms none and makes me happy, has become a defining corner point of my ongoing life.
Belonging motivates me. I have always felt like a strange oddity in an unfamiliar land. Throughout my life I have been reminded that most of my existence has been a matter of privilege and that nothing is mine outright outside of myself. I want to believe there is a place for me in this life. A place where I am valuable, beloved, and meant to be.
I'm sure there are others I could list but these are the four entwining corner points of my life. The underlining reason for everything I have done or will do in life.