Motivation Unmasked

Motivation Unmasked

Men's success lies in community

“I just can’t get motivated.”


Hearing that from so many people, especially men these days, got me thinking.


In the realm of personal growth and self-actualization, motivation is often hailed as the elusive elixir that unlocks our potential. We chase it, crave it, and even berate ourselves for not having enough of it. 


But what if we’ve been looking at motivation from the wrong angle all along? What if motivation isn’t what we think it is, but the need for it, the seeking of it, is an addictive hampster wheel that keeps us trapped and stuck?


The truth about motivation is it’s a fickle seductress, coming and going as she pleases. It’s a fleeting emotion, a temporary state of being that can evaporate as quickly as it arises. Waiting for motivation to strike before taking action is as much of a waste of time as waiting for others to change so you can be happy. It’s an exercise in futility that leaves us exhausted and stuck on this never-ending hamster wheel of inaction.


The trap of motivation lies in our belief that we need it to achieve our goals. We convince ourselves that without that burst of enthusiasm and energy surge, we are powerless to start, take action, or make progress. 


But the truth is that motivation is not a prerequisite for success; it’s a byproduct of it.


Unfortunately, unless we are unique, creative, and maybe even addicted to success, like Michael Jordan, who created enraging stories in his mind about his opponents disrespecting him to generate motivation (watch The Last Dance), motivation is not something we can simply summon at will for most of us. It’s a feeling; like all feelings, it ebbs and flows. 


However, that doesn’t mean we’re helpless in its absence. We can learn to generate motivation by tapping into our “why,” “what’s in it for me,” or “how will this make a difference for others.”


Your “why” is the reason behind your goals, the deeper purpose that fuels your desires. The emotional anchor keeps you grounded when the going gets tough. Your “what’s in it for me” is the reward, the pleasurable outcome that awaits you at the end of your journey. And the “how will this make a difference for others” is the benifit to your family, the community, or possibly even the world. 


This is only where the journey begins. This “Why” is only the kicking-off point because this generated motivation alone is insufficient. We must also cultivate the discipline and commitment to push through the inevitable dips in enthusiasm, exhaustion, failure, and rejection. Habits, routines, rituals, and accountability systems can help us stay on track even when motivation wanes. 


Unfortunately, we struggle to stick to or empower habits, routines, rituals, and accountability systems. This is where the rubber meets the road and where we find out who we truely are. Do we stick to what we say and promise to do, or fold or abandon these practices when things get challenging? 


At the core of sustainable self-generated motivation lies integrity. 


Integrity is the unwavering commitment to our values, principles, and purpose, regardless of how we feel in the moment. It’s the bedrock upon which our actions are built and keeps us moving forward even when motivation takes a backseat.


When we anchor our goals and aspirations in integrity, we transcend the need for constant motivation. We act not because we feel like it but because it aligns with who we are, who we say we want to become, and what we stand for. 


Our habits, routines, rituals, and accountability structures are the in-process actions that exemplify who we truly are. Our words, desires, hopes, dreams, and intentions mean nothing unless they are backed up with action from a place of integrity. 


We haven’t touched on the hidden gem, a true catalyst for lasting change that lies in community. 


While individual effort and personal accountability are essential, we likely will fall short without community and aligned support. Embarking on a transformational journey alone can be daunting and isolating. But when we surround ourselves with like-minded individuals who share our struggles and aspirations, we avoid getting stuck, isolated, depressed, and avoidant, making the path more accessible and the obstacles more surmountable.


Attending a retreat (like The Alchemy of Men Retreat) or joining a supportive community (like The Alchemy of Men’s The Torch Men’s Group) provides an environment where you are seen, heard, understood, and called forward. It’s the team you never knew you needed. It’s a space where you are encouraged and challenged to step outside your comfort zone and evolve. 


As humans, we are deeply addicted to our patterns of behavior and thought. These patterns keep us living out similar scenarios over and over without realizing what we are doing (bad bosses, unproductive employees, jobs we hate, relationships that don’t work, not having enough money, struggles with weight or health, etc.). A robust community or retreat environment can create a pause for us to identify and become aware of our patterns and give us an opportunity to make new decisions and choices and get off the hampster wheel. 


In a community, you are held accountable not only to yourself but also to those around you. You are inspired by the progress of others and motivated by the collective energy and shared experiences. You want to do better for them, and they want to do better for you. It’s fertile ground for personal growth, where motivation is not just a fleeting emotion but a sustained state fueled by the support and camaraderie of those around you.


It’s time to break our addiction to the feelings of motivation. It’s not the mythical elixir we’ve been led to believe. It’s a fleeting feeling that comes and goes, and relying solely on it is a recipe for stagnation. True progress lies in cultivating discipline, commitment, and integrity – qualities that transcend the need for constant motivation.


But even with these tools in our arsenal, the journey towards self-actualization is often easier when undertaken in the company of others. Surrounding ourselves with a supportive community that understands our struggles and shares our aspirations can be the catalyst that propels us toward lasting change.


So, instead of waiting for motivation to strike, take action today. Tap into your “why,” your “what’s in it for me,” or your “what’s in it for others.” Embrace the power of habits and routines and anchor your actions in integrity. Most importantly, seek out a community that will support you and challenge you to grow and evolve.


The path to a fulfilled and purposeful life may not be easy, but it is achievable with the right mindset and support system. Motivation may come and go, but your determination, commitment, and community will be the driving forces that propel you toward your most authentic and empowered self.

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