At the end of Chapter 13 titled “The Personality of the Motivator” of Bringing Out the Best in People, author Alan Loy McGinnis covers five steps for staying motivated as the leader of an organization.

These five deliberate actions however, apply to everyone.  A simple way to remember them is with the acronym “MALAR” which is Indian (Tamil Language) for flower or blossom.  So if you want your motivation to bloom like a flower remember the following.



While the following five steps need to be operated in concert, they are ordered by importance and in the most logical sequence for keeping spirits and motivation high.

1 – Monitor

“Monitor carefully the ideas entering your mind…If you become what you think, and if you feed a constant stream of junk and trivia into your brain, you are unlikely to be the strong persuader you want to be.  You may need to turn off the TV, watch less news, and instead read the great books, or mull over the powerful ideas of the Bible.”

With even more forms of media today, this is even truer than the day McGinnis wrote it.  The age old adage “Garbage In, Garbage Out” applies here.  We are constantly being bombarded by negative words and images that can infect our thoughts and sprout weeds in our mental garden.  While some of the negative we simply can’t avoid (such as certain negative people), we should be aware and keep a guard dog on duty to police the negative thoughts out of our mind.

2 – Associate

“Associate with successful, positive people.  In some cases you may need to distance yourself somewhat from pessimistic people who pull you down.  At least you must be certain to spend considerable time with individuals who inspire you, people who will stimulate your thinking, restore your vision, and stretch your capacity for dreaming.”

The concepts of mentoring, “rubbing shoulders with the elite” and “iron sharpening iron” all apply with this principle.  As the age old saying goes, “If you hang out with dogs you get fleas,” it is also true the other way around,  “If you hang out with leaders you get dreams.”  Positive people and appropriate mentors are not always readily available, so it should be a life-long mission to find successful people and to spend as much time around them listening to pick up nuggets of wisdom.

3. – Listen

“Take advantage of the wealth of information now available on inexpensive audio…in listening to them we get not only the ideas of great people but it is the next best thing to being with them in person-by listening to their voices we have a chance to make contact with their personalities, with their energy and enthusiasm.  So rather than letting the radio’s stream of nonsense occupy your driving hours or the time when you are waiting, listen to…inspiring and successful people whose stories will elevate your moods.”

This principle also should apply to books, video, quality websites/blogs and other leadership learning resources.  The beauty however with audios, is that it allows the listener to “kill two birds with one stone,” in the sense that they can listen to positive audios and grow while they are doing a daily task.  On top of driving, this could also include, listening during work, while showering/getting ready and during exercise.

4. – Attend

“Attend classes and seminars.  It is worth a few hundred miles of travel and a few hundred dollars to audit courses taught by bright people where you can associate with other highly motivated persons.”

Attending positive events, workshops, classes and seminars is the best way to get a full mental cleanse and stay motivated.  By being immersed in a supportive learning and developmental environment is a great way to get completely recharged.  Similar to association, it can sometimes be difficult to find these events, and places that on the surface may seem positive can be quite the opposite.  It should be the assignment of a student of leadership, to always be searching out a new place to receive the correct instruction.

5. – Record

“Keep a journal in which you write down goals and a record of your spiritual journey…observing and recording the movements of your soul.  If this is done consistently, positive dreams and objectives are certain to arise from the unconscious.”

Writing offers a unique way of uncovering one’s own soul.  The writing ability is of no concern, and instead it is the process that produces the results.  Writing critically, allows the author to reflect and think deeply on important issues.  These are opportunities to identify weaknesses and strengths and clearly communicate feelings.  For those more ambitious and seeking additional accountability, a public blog is a great way to take this step as well.

What do you do to stay motivated?  Let us know below…