The Englishman spoke while dodging thunderstorms at Kiawah Island in South Carolina, where the USPGA Championship - starting on Thursday - will be his 38th attempt to land one of golf's four biggest titles.
"It's good to know hard work pays off - I've always tried to think in those terms," the world number one said.
Donald watched Andy Murray beat Roger Federer during a rain delay in Akron on Sunday and has tried to capture as much of the London action as possible, although much of it is been shown delayed on American television.
"That takes the edge off when you know who's going to win, but I think Mo Farah's last lap was pretty special and obviously Jessica Ennis, living up to the expectation that was put on her shoulders," said Donald.
"She was kind of the poster child for the Olympic Games.
"They're all inspiring in their own way. The fact that you have one event every four years to really work hard, to see some of the guys who don't perform and to see some of the guys that perform and win gold, I mean, there's a lot of raw emotions there.
"And watching certainly has inspired me a lot in terms of having that wish to be there in four years, to have an opportunity to also win a gold medal."
Golf will be back as part of the Games in Rio after a gap of more than 100 years, and to be there Donald will either have to be in the world's top 15 still or one of Britain's top-two players.
The final major of the season inevitably flies under the radar this week as the Olympics continue, but that will not make victory taste any less sweet for the 34-year-old, who saw his fifth-placed finish in The Open three weeks ago as something of a breakthrough.
It was not where he came, but more how he felt that Donald takes heart from - especially after the bitter disappointment of missing the halfway cut at the US Open in June.
"Coming off the US Open I was very disappointed how I kind of handled the situation mentally," Donald said.
"I didn't come in hitting the ball that great and maybe that added to some of the anxiety.
"But certainly I think there was a little bit of a breakthrough, just realising at the Open Championship that no matter how I'm hitting it physically there's always a way to mentally be on top.
"I did that very well and as a result I also played pretty well."
The last 16 majors have been won by 16 different players - Ernie Els was the latest to joint the list at Royal Lytham - and Donald hopes he can be the one to take it to 17.
"I guess the longer the streak goes, the more encouragement it gives to those guys who haven't yet won a major, like myself. But I'm not sure if it changes anything for me.
"I continue to focus on what I can do and hopefully give myself a chance on Sunday."
Tiger Woods, who has now gone over four years since the last of his 14 majors, can also become the 17th.
Woods had chances at both the US Open and Open, but fell back to 21st in San Francisco and had to settle for third in Lancashire.
With three tournament wins he describes it as "a pretty good year", but knows this is his last opportunity of 2012 to turn it into a great one.
"I'm pleased at the way I was able to play at certain times and obviously disappointed that I did not win," Woods said.
"I've played in three major championships this year (he was only 40th at The Masters), and I didn't win any of them - that's the goal.
"Things have progressed, but not winning a major championship doesn't feel very good."
Woods also hopes to become an Olympian in four years' time at the age of 40.
"Since we haven't done it in a very long time, it'll be something else to be able to represent our country like that in the Olympic Games," he said.