The Myth of Motivation

Aaron Jarrels
Broken Moon Media
Published in
4 min readSep 20, 2022

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A person walking down a road that requires motivation to keep going.
Photo by Tegan Mierle on Unsplash

The motivation myth is one that many people fall victim to. They believe that if they can just find the right motivation, then they’ll be able to change their behavior and get the results they want. However, this simply isn’t true. The real key to change is understanding the process of change and taking action steps before you’re motivated.

When it comes to feeling up to making a change in your life, it is important to take action steps before you feel motivated. This is because motivation as you understand it is a myth. The reality is that motivation doesn’t just happen, it’s a result of taking action. And taking action is a process, not an event. So, if you want to change your life for the better, don’t wait for motivation to strike. Start taking action steps today toward what you want and see the results for yourself.

The truth is motivation shouldn’t take any effort. According to the Master key to Motivation; motivation is an energizing state of being, it brings you energy, and it fills you up. Let me give you an example: when you want something, really want it, it runs around in your head, creating anticipation, and excitement. You look forward to it and begin to brainstorm about all the different ways you can get it or do it faster. On the flip side, if you do not want something, you take steps to avoid it, you procrastinate and stall, and you feel drained the closer it gets.

Why is motivation so important?

Before anything else, motivation is important because it is the thing that maintains the process of change. Whether it is a change in our behavior, attitude, or lifestyle, motivation is what keeps us moving toward the result.

Think about it this way: if you want to get in shape and start going to the gym regularly, but you feel as though you have no motivation, you will never make that change. However, if you are motivated to make a change — maybe because you feel like you need to get healthier or because you want to fit into your old jeans again — then you are more likely than not to act and actually start going to the gym.

In short, motivation is the key because it leads to results. It does take forward movement to get it going, however. Have you ever noticed that the first day of going to the gym is the hardest? In fact, as you stay consistent and begin to see results, you find it easier to stay motivated to go to the gym. This is because motivation is the result of action, not the other way around. Do not wait to feel motivated, start and build up your motivation along the way.

Is motivation innate or learned?

The answer, it turns out, may be a bit of both. On the one hand, our primal instincts can drive us to do things that ensure our survival and reproduction. But on the other hand, we learn what to value from our culture and our experiences. So, the truth is that motivation is both innate and learned. This means you can learn to increase your motivation or teach it to others.

Can you motivate others?

Yes, you can motivate others. In fact, you likely do it all the time without realizing it. Whenever you instruct or lead someone, you’re motivating them to do something. The ability to motivate others is a valuable soft skill to possess in any field.

There are countless ways to motivate others. You can start by simply being yourself and setting a good example. If you’re passionate about something, that will come across and inspire others to feel the same way. You can also use positive reinforcement, such as compliments or rewards, to encourage people to keep up the good work.

Of course, you can’t always be successful in your attempts to motivate others. Sometimes people are just naturally resistant to change, or they may be going through something that makes it hard for them to care about anything else.

Do not be discouraged if you feel as though you cannot motivate others to do something they do not want to do. That is actually convincing them to act in a way that is contrary to their desire. Motivating someone to continue doing something they value is far easier, keep in mind, that motivation is caused and linked to action taken, it simply makes the continuation of the action more likely.

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Aaron Jarrels
Broken Moon Media
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I am a licensed therapist and an industry-leading Motivation & Mindset Coach who specializes in helping leaders learn to motivate themselves and others easily.