What motivates people who succeed?

Fukuyama writes in The End of History and the Last Man from 1992:

"A civilization devoid of anyone who wanted to be recognized as better than others, and which did not affirm in some way the essential health and goodness of such a desire, would have little art or literature, music or intellectual life."

I have earlier said that as far as intellectual life goes curiosity is probably more important than the drive for recognition but this requires a few more comments. The same would be true for art and music.

Could it be that the more physical the endeavor the more important is the recognition component in success? An athlete is motivated by trying to improve himself in his regular training but is then in need of proper competition nerves when in play. Whereas a scientist or artist does the real thing in the lab or study and then just displays it in public. In other words a civilization according to Fukuyama's idea above would have no sport or competitive business but plenty of art and science.

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