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Worming out of Motivation

worm-moti-1So, it has become established that we don’t trust motivational speakers!
Mainly this can be mainly because we had been exposed to too many occasions where we overheard other individuals saying sceptically, “Ag these motivational guys! These teambuilding guys! They come in and a week later I can’t recall what they said!”
This was something that we never wanted to have said about MOVERS & SHAKERS and we guarded ourselves very carefully against this in the way that we developed our Outdoor team building activities, indoor teambuilding events, team building games and teambuilding games activities.

Why did motivation get such a bad rap?
The reputation of the average motivational speaker has been tarnished over the years through the amount of cliché and rhetoric which has been spewed off a stage onto an unsuspecting audience by an exuberant and entertaining Motivator.
Cliché after cliché may be piled upon us in such a way that most company seminar attenders are becoming immune to the pointless stimulant-free phrase-vomiting acts that the latest whizz-kid speaker has managed to come up with.
Once again we repeat, no-one can motivate you.
You've got to want to motivate yourself!

worm-2And so the clichés would come.
Having a slick suit and tie pin even Joe Jackson wouldn't have envisaged the sharp-dressed guy 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 hold 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 people dealing with real issues both in the home and at the office be expected to digest this offering of modern day corporate wisdom.
Was this supposed to be a life skill that we were supposed to seriously take on? It seemed that for each cliché there was an equal and opposite reaction.
“The early bird catches the worm BUT, the 2nd mouse will get the cheese!” (Think of 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 real point though we could probably picture what sort of tenuous theme Mr. YesYes (author of countless books), was trying to get across.

It will get closer to home, though. Almost each and every office today 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 that 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 will hear it still ringing in your ears and see the face involved in the delivery.
How did I respond? Well, by this stage I just started getting difficult.
I was the self-appointed devil’s advocate.
Sorry, but that is history, not fabrication.
After many years of torturous submission to this corporate bombardment marketed to the minions like a ‘treat’, just because you were away from your desk, we had started out to form a corp., a little select group of black ops cynics.
Mostly so that we could share our negative but albeit witty comebacks at these corporate soirees.
“What if I wanted to fail at whatever.... and I did.”
Which did I do? Fail or be successful?
Granted, even the comebacks were turning out to be questionable now.
It just became a “chicken or the egg” thing.

More recently though, as a broker of these motivational concepts, I was asked to attend a client motivational conference where the company had made a decision to treat their staff with a several inspirational presenters.
Probably in the hope that some thing would work on their staff, the organisers were as disillusioned as the rest.
Somehow I had managed to obtain the closing slot of the day and most probably purely by chance. I’d prefer to think they were keeping the very best for last but in truth I guess it had been purely by chance.
The one wise thing that I did that no other speaker did that day was that I attended the entire day listening to each and every speaker along the way.
At the time I did not realise it had been as wise as it was.
Possibly I was somewhat intimidated to follow some well known names.
I justified it by convincing myself that I would listen and learn and build on the message foundation which the others had made.
But one particular thing occurred that I have certainly not forgotten was that two speakers at different occasions of the day made precisely opposite points.
One started out convincing the crowd to “act in the moment and there is no time like the present, don’t put off until tomorrow...Just do it,” although a couple of hours after with a different voice precisely the reverse point was made.
“Procrastination can be your best friend.
A fool rushes in. Hold back until you have the big picture.
There is a wisdom in a multitude of councillors.”
I was embarrassed for all of us.

With that, I come to feel 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 believe that things must be kept simple and it's not a complex thing.

Not long ago I went on a weight loss plan.
Having tried numerous occasions before, the difference this time was that it worked and continues to work because I worked out the best way to motivate myself to accomplish it.
The fad diets don’t work, the milkshakes don’t work, eating only bananas and herrings for the week doesn't work, even physical exercise alone didn’t do the job for me.
I needed to make a life style change that I would be prepared to sustain.
The formula was simple in fact – 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 self-discipline but with some great internet websites and smartphone applications readily available, it’s truly not that hard! It was a uncomplicated formula.
Eat a smaller amount 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 looking to make?
Very well, here it is.
Individuals are driven by one of 2 things: reward or punishment.
Similar to a donkey, we have been driven by either the carrot or the stick.
Generally the carrot is much more effective, but hey, you have to work out what works for you personally.
In our lives, I suppose you may say these elements are made up of our failures or fears, or our dreams.
You have to just ensure that your dreams are bigger than your fears.
What most individuals won’t inform you however is that your dream requires work!

Author: Paul Johnson, Motivational Speaker and the M.D. of Movers & Shakers, a leading Motivation and Teambuilding company in South Africa. 

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