CHARACTER MOTIVATION THESAURUS

BEING THE BEST AT SOMETHING



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HELPFUL TIP:

To understand why your character is driven toward a certain goal, take time to understand their personality and moral compass using the positive and negative trait thesauri. Also, dig into their backstory to find an unresolved emotional wound. Past trauma is disruptive and can generate unmet needs that, if strong enough, will motivate your character to chase a specific goal to satisfy this need.
FORMS THIS MIGHT TAKE:
Winning a local competition (best chili, prettiest garden display, best home-brewed beer, etc.)
Winning an election (for prom king, student council, city council, mayor, etc.)
Being awarded a scholarship for an art competition, one's prowess in math, for an essay one wrote, etc.
Being profiled in one's local paper for an accomplishment or accolade
Being chosen for the Olympic team
Being on a winning team (or coaching it) at the champion level
Having one's business win a prestigious award
Being acknowledged for being the one to put on the best parties or events
Being chosen from a large pool of hopefuls (to act in a commercial, for a promotion, to earn spot in an orchestra, etc.)
Being the best parent, grandparent, teacher, etc.

HUMAN NEED DRIVING THE GOAL (INNER MOTIVATION):
There are five basic human needs that, when missing from a character's life, could motivate them to pursue this goal. The following needs are all possibilities, but only one of them should be the primary driver for any given character. For more information on the relationship between human needs and outer motivations, please see​ this ​Character Motivation tutorial.

Self-Actualization: Believing that one has a special skill, knowledge, or insight in a particular area could drive a character to put their resources into becoming an expert, especially if they believe that by doing so, they are contributing to something greater than themselves. 
Esteem and Recognition: If a character is skilled or has special knowledge, they may wish to hone their abilities to distiguish themselves and be known as "the best" in that area.
Safety and Security: A character may seek to be the best at something when the stakes are high, such as needing to become skilled at deception in order to keep one's resources from being stolen by others (e.g., a corrupt government).
Physiological Needs: When survival is at stake, a character would be driven to be the best at whatever will keep them alive, such as excelling at hunting in a landscape where meat is hard to find or being highly skilled at finding water during a drought.

HOW THE CHARACTER MAY PREPARE FOR THIS GOAL:
Reading up on the activity one wishes to master or the issues of importance that one should know
Observing (in person, watching video footage, etc.) and studying one's competition
Practicing one's communication (written, verbal, etc.) and charm to win over those who may be in a position to help
Being open to trying new things and adding more tools to one's toolkit
Seeking out mentors or coaches as needed
Practicing obsessively
Dedicating oneself to the area of study; cutting out distractions
Researching past winners and studying their methods
Understanding the risks and being willing to take the ones that make sense
Studying one's judges or decision-makers so one can better deliver exactly what is needed
Buying whatever equipment or services that might give one an edge
Putting in more effort than one's competition
Practicing affirmations and positive self-talk
Trying out for smaller opportunities so one can build up to bigger ones

POSSIBLE SACRIFICES OR COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS GOAL:
Giving up one's free time
Friendships that grow strained because others aren't supportive of one's passion
Spending one's savings on training, equipment, or other things needed to be the best
Relationships that become damaged because of competition
Losing out on family time
Having less energy and focus for other things
Dropping the ball in other areas of one's life because of a singular (possibly obsessive) focus on the goal

ROADBLOCKS WHICH COULD PREVENT THIS GOAL FROM BEING ACHIEVED:
A health crisis (either one's own or that of a family member) that requires time, money, or both
A financial crisis (losing a job, one's car being totaled, etc.)
Deepening family problems that must be addressed, requiring one to refocus one's time
A move due to work
A talented competitor with better resources and support
Sabotage
Not having the knowledge, talent, or experience to be the best (needing to be more seasoned)
Ego creating an inflated sense of one's abilities, making it difficult for one to accurately self-examine and address areas of weakness
Realizing this goal will not bring fulfillment (as it is a false goal and a deeper need is at the root)

TALENTS & SKILLS THAT WILL HELP THE CHARACTER ACHIEVE THIS GOAL:

WHAT'S AT STAKE IF THIS GOAL ISN'T MET?
Crippling disappointment
A negative outlook on life
A future laden with underachieving
Low self-worth
Giving up on the passion altogether if one can't be the best

CLICHÉS TO AVOID:
Because of the popularity of the Chevy Chase "Vacation" movies, one would want to avoid creating a character who was obsessed to the same degree