Some people are just born to work hard. If you were not and need external motivation, you are at a distinct disadvantage. Because hard work is one of the most predictive traits of success.
It is very possible to succeed without working hard. And it is very possible not to succeed even though you do work hard. But working hard massively improves your odds of success.
Some people come out of the womb loving to work hard. These people instinctually sacrifice the present for some imaginable future benefit.
Deep Insecurities Drive Working Hard
Some who work crazy hours are motivated because of deep insecurities. This person often holds two opposing views himself: both an inflated view of themselves AND an insecurity about who they are. They constantly think people are not giving them the respect they deserve. They are driven to work to get that respect.
Of course, having these insecurities is not really a good thing. It generally is not good for the person (though it can have positive benefits to society due to all the great things that come from hard work).
So if you are looking to work hard, I would not suggest you develop a new personality where you feel both that the world is ganging up on you AND that you are insecure. But just know that you are at a disadvantage to those that do feel that way because they will be driven to work the long hours you may avoid.
Mission-Driven: A Healthier Alternative
Another way to to be driven to work super hard is to care greatly about a cause and work towards solving that cause. That's often the healthier way to motivate yourself.
By working on something mission-driven, you can overpower your motivation to waste time. Working on something mission-driven can give you the motivation to put in the long hours and focus ... because you have the opportunity to change the world for the better.
This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions: