Living in a high-stakes universe
One path to self-motivation is to catastrophize.
After all, if this is the big moment, if everything depends on what's going to happen next, of course you'll need to gear up, focus and drop everything. The stakes are so high…
This is ultimately corrosive. You're crying wolf with yourself.
Over time, the only way to keep up this motivation is to demonize the other, to treat the outside world as an enemy, lying in wait, eager for you to fail.
And that makes it harder for you to enlist colleagues, because, of course, they can't possibly see the same drama you're seeing, because you're inventing it.
The drama stops helping and starts to undermine your best work.
They call it the emergency room for a reason. The rest of us work in the regular room, where emergencies are rare, not the norm, where goodwill is the default, where few things are actually a matter of life or death.
We're capable of doing great work without the drama. In fact, over time, the lack of drama can enable us to do great work.