Despite the disappointment of exiting the World Cup at the quarter-final stage, the 32-year-old's hunger burns just as brightly and he's determined to hit the ground running in the 2012 RBS 6 Nations.
"For me, the inspiration is about trying to be the best I can be, trying to show those who doubt me, the people who might think I'm over the hill, that I still have it," O'Driscoll told the November issue of Rugby World.
"You want to throw in some big performances and win things and silence those critics, that's important.
"But you also want to try to leave some sort of legacy behind as to what kind of player you were.
"I don't want to be somebody who just petered off towards the end of his career, I want to go out on a high.
"You're always going to have people who resent or dislike you because they heard some ridiculous rumour through the grapevine or, unbeknown to you, you did something to offend them."
The prospect of a fourth British & Irish Lions tour is also a tempting prospect for O'Driscoll who led Ireland to the 2009 Grand Slam - their first clean sweep in 61 years.
But O'Driscoll admits he can't escape the hand of Old Father Time and is dreading the prospect of finally hanging up my boots.
"Throughout the years, I heard lads talking about the end of their careers and how much they were missing the camaraderie and the craic, and I was thinking that they were exaggerating," he added.
"I was saying: 'That's a bit too much man love,' but I can see it now. I can see what they were talking about.
"When you're involved for ten, 12, 14 years, that's a huge part of your life. I've spent over a third of my life playing professional rugby, so it's going to have a huge impact when the day comes that I'm not doing it anymore and I'm dreading it."