Motivation is Bullshit?

Motivational Speaker
Motivational Speaker

Is motivation bullshit? When I hear slogans such as:”Failure will never overtake you if your determination to succeed is strong enough!!! In order to succeed, you must first believe you can!!!” I get in a mood where I am ready to do anything, even if that means ramming my head against a brick wall.

Motivation feels great for a time. But it doesn’t last. When I’m under its spell, I’m able to focus on my work. I have more energy. I write down big plans. I even vacuum behind the seats of my car. But like all drugs, the feeling doesn’t last long. Soon I’m back to being lazy and spending my time playing Skyrim, waiting for the next hit that will motivate me again to take action.

I tried change my life with motivation alone. It didn’t work. I realized that I had two options. Get comfortable with my old self–not ideal because the old self needed work–or two, develop myself. I opted for the ninety-ninth option. “And that has made all of the difference.“*

Motivation has its place. It’s good to get pumped up to have positive mantras, especially the last few miles of marathon. But motivation alone won’t do the job. It’s just a tool.

*When I was in college, my professor lectured extensively on The Road Not Taken. He even brought in a greeting card that had the poem printed on it. He held the card before the class, then he dramatically lit it on fire–almost setting off the fire alarm. He said, “This poem is NOT about how choosing the lesser traveled road made a difference. Read the poem!!! The paths are equal! Frost is being ironic! The choice made no difference whatsoever. The speaker of the poem is purposefully exaggerating the significance of his decision. He’s being sarcastic for Christ sake!!!” Back then I totally agreed with my professor, but now I’m not so sure. Was he motivated by the truth or bullshit?


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