Paul Brian. May 9, 2023, 8:00 pm
If you’re a driven, high-energy individual then you’re focused on your goals.
However sometimes your high-octane personality is actually intimidating some people around you.
Here’s how to find out if that’s the case and what to do about it if so.
1) People respond to your ideas apathetically
The first of the signs you have a remarkably driven mindset that some people find intimidating is that they respond to your bold and groundbreaking ideas with apathy.
Of course it’s possible your ideas just aren’t that good, but more often than not this kind of reaction to bold proposals comes about out of some measure of fear.
When people feel like you’re incredibly driven and intense and they don’t think they measure up, no matter how inspiring and great your ideas are they may feel hesitant to contribute or get excited.
How would most people have responded to a young Elon Musk when he said he wanted to take humans to Mars and revolutionize transport, energy and the modern world?
Probably with a nervous chuckle and “good luck”!
2) People say you’re too obsessed with work
The next of the important signs you have a remarkably driven mindset that some people find intimidating is that people tell you that you are simply too obsessed with work.
That raises the question: How much is too much?
If you’re not eating properly or getting enough sleep because all you can think about is work, then yes that’s too much!
If you’re experiencing mental and physical breakdown from your amount of work then clearly it’s gone overboard.
However if you work hard and are intense, there’s no reason for myself or anyone to claim to know this is “too much” and this accusation is generally a sign of insecurity in the face of your drive.
3) People hand over leadership to you and defer
Another of the key signs you have a remarkably driven mindset that some people find intimidating is that people who work with you often hand over the keys to the project partway through.
No matter how nice you are and how appreciative of their input, your drive and dedication intimidates them.
For this reason, they prefer to bow out and defer to your leadership.
This can sometimes be frustrating in a work context when you’re looking for more partners and collaboration but people keep handing things off to you.
Chances are they are simply intimidated.
4) People find your ideas and plans overly ambitious
Next up in the signs you have a remarkably driven mindset that some people find intimidating is that people find your ideas and plans overly ambitious.
They tell you to hold back or take it easy and do something easier.
Why start your own restaurant with its own unique menu? Why not just start out as a franchise and accept that extra support network?
Why go back to school for a Ph. D. in computer science when you can just learn it on YouTube?
Well, you have your own goals and your own drive, and it’s relentless. The fact that so many seem to find it too ambitious is only proof that you’re aiming high.
5) People ask you why you care so much
The next of the signs that your drive makes some hesitate is that you’re asked why you care so much.
When you get passionate about issues or try to get involved in things you care a lot about, friends and family say: “why get so involved?”
The answer that you give is probably “why not?”
Because it’s natural for your drive and commitment to get involved in causes and projects you care about.
That’s just how you work. Not everyone does.
6) People tell you to just “chill”
Another of the signs you have a remarkably driven mindset that some people find intimidating is that people tell you to just “chill.”
You’re constantly being accused of being too on the ball all the time.
I’ve recently been watching a reality show on Netflix named “Outlast” about 16 people set loose in the remote wilderness of Alaska.
They must survive 45 days with minimal supplies and hunting, fishing and collecting their own food, but the catch is that they must do it together in teams.
The winner has a chance to win $1 million.
Many of those selected for the challenge are “lone wolves” and some even openly admit to hating the company of most people.
Thus the challenge to work in teams and not let anger and rivalry take over becomes one of the chief points of drama and entertainment in the show.
One of the contestants, Javier, is highly competent and driven but he’s also a micromanager and arrogant. He ends up causing various of the others to quit.
Javier is the perfect example of the fine line between confidence and arrogance. He’s confident and he has a reason to be because he has far more survival skills and drive than many of the others, but it’s his arrogance and manner that drives people away.
In the same sense, if you’re being told to chill, you have to take a look whether this is people being simply intimidated by your drive or whether there are real things about your behavior and mannerisms that may strike them as pushy and arrogant.
7) People make excuses why they can’t try as hard as you
The next clue that you’re making people feel a bit intimidated by your intensity and drive is that they make excuses why they can’t try as hard as you do.
Maybe it’s their health, their lack of money or their looks.
Maybe it’s just that they don’t have time or don’t have the “brains” or “talent” you do.
People will often make excuses about their lack of effort and then say that it’s because those who are more successful simply got lucky or were blessed by the gods with incredible genius and talent.
Which brings me to the next point…
8) People tell you that you must just be made of different stuff
When people are explaining why they can’t commit to the level you are, they’ll often talk about how you must just be made of different stuff.
In other words they imply you were born with more smarts or energy or verve.
You’re just built differently.
We’ve all thought that way at times about people who are enormously successful and it’s definitely a disempowering thought.
Because the truth is success is almost always a product of talent combined with extraordinary effort and never just talent alone.
9) People use their failures as excuses to quit around you
When folks feel intimidated a bit by your drive and commitment, they often use this as an excuse to quit.
They either say that it looks like the project or collaboration is in good hands, or tell you that you’re just so much more talented and capable and they need to take a breather.
It’s sad to see this, but everyone ultimately has to make their own choice.
When people use your accomplishments and commitment as an excuse to quit that’s their choice and sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it.
10) People don’t understand how you can be so on mission
When you’re remarkably driven, it can confuse some people.
They just don’t get how you can always be so on mission.
The answer is usually simple:
You’re on mission because you’ve learned to be self-disciplined and focused on your goals to an intense extent.
You also apply yourself to goals and a purpose that is meaningful to you, so you’re not faking it either.
11) People feel they’ll never get to your “level”
The next of the signs you have a remarkably driven mindset that some people find intimidating is that you hear folks tell you they feel they’ll never reach your “level.”
You may not have been aware that you were even on any level.
But this shows that your amount of drive and zeal is coming across as far from average and perhaps giving some people a bit of pause.
They may admire you, but the level of speed, efficacy and determination you seem to be operating at is outside the scope of their own reality bubble.
12) People move too slowly!
Lastly in terms of the top signs you have a remarkably driven mindset that some people find intimidating is that you simply find many people move too slowly.
You try to be patient, but you often find yourself saying “excuse me” and walking past folks, or taking over projects that other people give up on.
You find that everyone seems to be waiting around for something to happen, and sooner or later you just take the ball and go for it yourself.
As the rapper Ludacris (Christopher Bridges) memorably put it in his poetic 2001 hit “Move B&*ch:”
Ludacris gets it.
Time to double down
There is nothing wrong with having a driven mindset.
Yes, some people are going to find it intimidating. They may even find you “obsessed” or strange.
That’s just fine.
If you live your life to appeal to others and be validated by everyone, it will never be your life.
It’s time to double down. Focus on your dreams, goals and purpose. If some people find you intimidating think of it this way:
This is just clearing out space for people who will find you inspiring and share your driven mindset to find their way into your life!
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