This isn't about winning or coming first but keeping in the race does keep me on my toes. Even if a person comes last at least they still finish. This is why you are told to keep with like-minded people who inspire you. It does matter if you are fast or slow - it can keep you on focus.
Pressure and desperation in comfort zone: When things become intolerable
Normally I tend to be laid back until things reach a brink, and as soon as it gets intolerable, I tend to act. I guess it's because the stakes become higher. Otherwise, I tend to stay in my comfort zone. When comfort zones become fire zones, I move on.
Recognition, Praise & Thank you
Professionally this is a big one, also in writing. Even just saying a simple thank you is recognition and praise enough, keeps me motivated to keep working. When someone left a five star review for one of my books, I instantly became motivated to strive for a better standard. Praise makes me strive for the next level.
I'm more motivated in doing things for others than myself. I wish I could treat myself as another person, I'd be so pampered. I'm trying to change that, as in doing more for myself.