by Johnny Mack
While doing some reflection as to why people choose to hunt, I kept coming back to this concept of motivation vs. inspiration. In a world driven by technology and social media, I wanted to know what are some of the deciding factors people need in order to begin a journey of something new.
Being in the business of hunter recruitment and mentorship, I started getting down on myself because I was having a difficult time persuading my closest friends to give hunting a shot. It wasn’t until I remembered an old saying. “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink,” that I came to peace with them not wanting to join me on my adventures. Even though I knew the horse would not want to drink unless it was thirsty, I was still searching for a way to get my friends activated.
After doing some research and comparing it with my own personal journey, it led me to first identify the issue of trying to “persuade” my friends in the first place. It didn’t matter how much I told them that hunting could be transformative and the adventure is unrivaled. Until they thirsted for it on their own, they would never drink. This is where hunters who are vulnerable are their own greatest recruiting tool.
Internal vs. external
When dissecting the differences between inspiration and motivation, I kept returning to the idea that inspiration comes from an outside source, while motivation is internal. The mere definition of inspiration is to be mentally stimulated to do or feel something. In order for us to stimulate the mind, we need to be conscious of how we tell of our adventures.
I had a conversation with a fellow hunter the day he shot a buck and I asked him to share with me how it all went down. He obliged and shared his story. By the end, I was so caught up in his lack of excitement and energy that I was less focused on what he shared and more caught up in his ability to turn someone off of the idea of hunting. Let’s just say I was less than inspired after hearing his story.
After reflecting upon how the story was told and the lack of inspiration it provided, I challenged myself to figure out what it was that made me want to continue my pursuit. What I learned is the reason behind why I hunt has nothing to do with anything outside of my own mind. This is where motivation steps in.
Motivation is defined as the general desire or willingness to do something. As it turns out, the only way a horse will drink water is if it wants to on its own accord. Inspiration is like watching a race and then wanting to try it. Motivation is what makes us sign up, compete, finish and try to win. For me, the challenge and adventure coupled with the ability to provide is what drove me to action.
How to apply it
For new hunters, it is extremely important to remember that what you see on social media is not always the truth or the norm. It will take time in the field for you to find success in taking an animal. One thing to remember is, any time afield is an opportunity for success in other areas, not just the kill, that can be both the inspiration and motivation needed in continuing your pursuit. Enjoy the small wins along with the journey. If you stay fixated on the end destination, you miss out on the beauty of what is offered.
For the veteran hunter, don’t forget that you are an ambassador for the hunting community. Everything you do and say in regards to hunting is lending itself towards an opinion being formed. To recruit new hunters, your passion and energy can be the inspiration needed that provides the motivation for them to start. Share your passion and energy for hunting as if someone was trying to get you to start. It only takes a spark to start a fire.
In the end, we always get what we want. So how bad do you want it? What are you going to do in order to achieve it? When it comes to hunting, are you getting caught up in the hype of social media and beating yourself down because your life is not similar to what you see? Or are you using it as inspiration followed by motivation to work harder and go farther? You can never out give good and you will always be rewarded and get what you want.
For new hunters, inspiration comes from the motivation in watching veteran hunters seek an inner passion for the sport and discovery of one’s self.
For veteran hunters, motivation comes from watching new hunters become inspired by the drive for primal adventure and need for something more outside themselves.