“Motivational speakers are frauds, they are cheats.” “They share principles that they can’t support with their personal experiences.” “They only stir up emotions.” These and several other statements are very common when people talk about motivational speaking. People feel embittered about some persons who appear to make money off “naïve” audience by downloading information from books and sharing them without proofs. While I agree, I must also be quick to say that there are several other speakers who have acquired the right to speak through their “hard earned” experiences.
Motivation, according to Wordweb, is “The psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal.” Hence, a motivational speech aims at arousing listeners to take action in order to achieve their desired goals. How better can we start the year? Wouldn’t you prefer to listen to information that propels you towards something worthwhile than one that convinces you that you are doomed to fail? Let’s examine a few grudges that people have against motivational speeches and how we can convert them for our benefit:
1. They stir up emotions: a lot of people believe that a motivational speech only takes one on an emotional trip, after which it does nothing. They believe that the speed with which you get excited during the speech is the speed with which you lose the excitement afterwards. Well, one thing we have to learn about emotions is that they are transient. Someone who was happy a few minutes ago may be sad now. However, the fact that emotions change does not make them bad; it just means that we have to learn how to manage them. I read a little about rockets, particularly the United States’ NASA Space Shuttle. I discovered that it made use of Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), which provided about 83% of the thrust needed for liftoff by the shuttle within the first two minutes of its flight. The boosters helped to launch the space shuttle into earth orbit but were dropped after the fuel was expended. After the rocket discarded the boosters, its engine continued the job. Relating this to emotions, particularly excitement, my perspective is that when one is excited, energy is released, that is why some people shout or even jump. The purpose of the emotion is to launch us upward, just like the rocket boosters, but our own engines must take over the job. Just as boosters don’t last, emotions don’t too, but we can’t do without them. In 2016, expose yourself to information that will generate the kind of energy you need for liftoff, but remember it is only half of the job. You need more that emotions to arrive at your destination. Getting the information is one thing, using it effectively is quite another.
2. They paint the picture of a glamorous future: some people hate motivational speeches because they make the future seem like a garden of roses. I don’t have any problem with that at all. Is there anyone who desires a future that is worse than the present? God forbid. Of course, whoever is painting that glamourous picture must also enlighten the listeners of the price that must be paid for such a future, which I believe should include diligence, among other things. While I don’t believe in baseless dreams, I believe that there is no point dreaming of a future that is not better than the present. Hence, your dream must be good enough to make you sacrifice the pleasures of the present to achieve it. A lot of times, people are too deep in their depressing situations that they need someone to give them a reason to hope. Les Brown, one of the world’s leading public speakers said, “you can’t see a picture when you are in the frame.” I believe you need someone who has been where you are now and who believes that you can find your way to where you want to be if only you make the right efforts.
3. They de-emphasise challenges and focus on opportunities: it’s interesting how something that is meant to make people succeed make them angry. Some people are really mad that some motivational speeches make the audience take their attention off the problem. For as long as the speech doesn’t deny that there are challenges along the way to success, I think it is a great thing. A lot of people are too afraid of problems to consider the possibility of success. Motivational speeches draw from the stories of the speakers to encourage listeners not to stop trying. This presupposes that the speaker has a proof of achieving success in spite of obvious challenges.
I am not suggesting that you go out there and grab the materials of just any motivational speaker. My point is that you need to be motivated. You need to boost your speed by knowing that there is a future worth fighting for. Wouldn’t you rather be inspired by someone who is producing good results in your area of interest than be depressed by someone who has nothing but stories of woes?
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