Why did motivation get such a lousy rap?
The reputation of the typical motivational speaker has been tarnished over the years with the volume of cliché and rhetoric which has been spewed off a stage onto an unsuspecting audience by an exuberant and entertaining Motivator. Cliché after cliché has been piled upon us in such a way that most company seminar attenders have become immune to the pointless stimulant-free phrase-vomiting acts which the latest whizz-kid speaker has managed to come up with. Again we repeat, no-one can motivate you. You've got to want to motivate yourself!
And so the clichés would appear. Having a slick suit and tie pin even Joe Jackson wouldn't have envisaged the sharp-dressed dude commanding the stage wanting to get his fragile point across.“The early bird catches the worm!” I once heard promoted. “What!” the sceptic in me couldn't keep back an exclamation. Biting my lip, my mind was racing, daring me to shout out, “Who the hell needs WORMS!” I mean really, how could real individuals dealing with real issues both at home and at the workplace be expected to digest this offering of modern day corporate wisdom. Was this supposed to become a life skill that we were supposed to seriously take on? It seemed that for every cliché there was an equal and opposite reaction. “The early bird catches the worm BUT, the 2nd mouse will get the cheese!” (Think about it for a minute).
Yet another conundrum was the old classic, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!” That was just confusing. What did that make yesterday? It made no precise point even though we could quite possibly picture what kind of tenuous theme Mr. YesYes (author of countless books), was looking to get across.
It will get closer to home, though. Nearly every single office these days has the motivational preacher spouting the world’s no.1 most popular inspirational phrase, “If you fail to plan, You plan to fail!” I know you may feel the goose bumps rise as you realise that you too have been a victim of this misguided intention. Knowing that I’m right, you can hear it still ringing in your ears and see the face involved in the delivery. How did I reply? Well, by this stage I just started getting difficult. I was the self-appointed devil’s advocate. Sorry, but this really is history, not fabrication. After many years of torturous submission to this company bombardment marketed to the minions as being a ‘treat’, just because you have been away from your desk, we had started out to form a corp., a small select group of black ops cynics. Mostly so that we could share our negative but albeit witty comebacks at these company soirees.“What if I wanted to fail at whatever.... and I did.” Which did I do? Fail or be successful? Granted, even the comebacks ended up becoming questionable now. It just became a “chicken or the egg” thing.
With that, I believe it is understandable how the Motivational industry got a bad rap.
So how are we likely to recover from the first cynical portion of this article? Well we’ll give it our best shot. We still feel that things should be kept simple and it's not a difficult thing.
Recently I went on a diet regime. Having tried numerous occasions before, the difference this time was that it worked and continues to work simply because I worked out the best way to motivate myself to accomplish it. The fad diets don’t work, the milkshakes don’t do the job, eating only bananas and herrings for a week doesn't work, even exercise alone didn’t do the job for me. I needed to make a lifestyle change that I could well be ready to sustain. The formula was uncomplicated in reality – If you ate fewer calories than you used, you had to lose weight. All I did was logged what I ate! That did call for some discipline but with some fantastic internet sites and smartphone applications available, it’s really not that difficult! It was a simple formula. Eat less than you use. I can have a chocolate bar for lunch if I want, but then there’s nothing left in my allocation for dinner.
What's the point I’m attempting to make? Well, here it is. Persons are driven by one of two things: reward or punishment. Similar to a donkey, we have been driven by either the carrot or the stick. Generally the carrot is significantly more effective, but hey, you've got to work out what works for you. In our lives, I suppose you might say these elements are made up of our failures or fears, or our dreams. You have to just make sure that your dreams are bigger than your fears. What most individuals won’t let you know sadly is that the dream takes work!
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