How Effective Are Motivational Books & Speeches?
I have attended a lot of events organized to motivate people and I have also read a lot of books written to inspire people to aspire. But I have realized that this mental ‘boost’ is overrated. This is because I have seen a lot of people like me who have consumed so many motivational contents, but it seems like they still struggle to attain their dreams.
Motivational books/speeches, like opium, have a spontaneous effect – they intoxicate your spirit for a while and leave you hopeless afterward. Motivational contents make you high on psyche steroids, only for the realities of life to cripple you and leave you frustrated.
I am sure every motivational speaker/author will want to counter my argument. Dele Carnegie, a respected motivational speaker and author once said: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last, well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it every day”. But the reality is that motivation builds a mind that most humans can’t carry.
Motivators would tell a man to walk, but would not care to know if he has a leg to walk, neither will they teach him how to walk. All they would do is to refer to people who have walked in the past. This doesn’t work for most people. You can’t tell a person who does not have the skill to build a car that he can build a car. Don’t tell me that I can be a Bill Gates when I can’t write a single line of code. How can this happen?
Most minds are merely awed by the possibilities other people create but are not compelled enough to act. They can’t. They are asked to believe in themselves, even when they hardly know themselves or know what they want.
This is not to undermine the importance of motivational content. Motivational content could be very helpful in putting our dreams in the right perspectives. They could help you understand possibilities, but not pursue possibilities. You have to realize that motivation cannot help people who do not have a compelling dream or a purpose, it will only excite them for a day or two. Human beings need more than just psyche padding, they need a thorough call to action.
Dale Carnegie was right when he insinuated that motivation should be consumed on a daily bases. However, does it mean that you will have to read motivational books or attend events every day? I don’t think this is tenable. The best way to stay motivated is to learn how to motivate yourself. You know yourself more than any author or speaker does. You can motivate yourself better and you can do so every day. When you look into that mirror, motivate yourself. When you are on that toilet seat, speak to yourself. This is how you keep yourself mentally empowered every day. The fact remains that most great men today did not have the luxury of motivation. They had to motivate themselves.
Nothing motivates you more than the dreams you carry. It is a man’s dream that compels him to do the impossible. When you have a big dream, you are moved to act and make things possible. Dreams are like a debt you compel yourself to pay. Most young people today seem to be looking for motivation outside of themselves when their dreams should be their biggest motivator.
Your experiences can motivate you to do great things. When you look at your present situation or your past travails, you are naturally motivated to make a change. For instance, if you are born poor, the desire to change your lot and ensure your children do not partake in such terrible life will naturally motivate you to make the impossible possible.
Some fellows believe in us, in our dreams and the possibilities in our lives. When we look back at the sacrifices and love they have invested in us and our dreams, we are naturally motivated to fulfill our dreams. These people should be our motivators.
Instead of investing in motivation, we should pay more attention to mentorship. If we want to help people fulfill their purpose, we need to mentor them, directly or indirectly. We need to be part of their journey, not just tell them stories of possibilities. Life realities can dust off the charm of motivation in the mind of a person in hours, unlike mentorship that builds the confidence of people. People will believe in ‘possibilities’ when they can interact with it remotely.
We should not consume motivational content just to get all fired up – we need to learn from them. To learn from the stories of great men. Their stories cannot compel us to make things happen in our lives, but they can help us understand who we are and what we want.
Because their success stories are different from yours, your own story should motivate you.
This piece was first published on www.bellanaija.com