Friday, January 08, 2016

This country could use a little less motivation

Personal development is a ten billion dollar a year industry. 

Between infomercials, motivational speakers, coaching, training seminars, audio programs, books and other media, there’s no shortage of resources to help people become more empowered and motivated. 

And it makes sense, considering the number of studies proving that empowered employees are seen as more innovative, upward influencing and inspirational. 

The irony is, power isn’t always the killer app. In fact, sometimes motivation can work against us. Because although our instinct is to lead and dominate and wow everyone in the room, there’s value in learning how to contract our power and personality. How to step back, staple our tongues to the roofs of our mouth and create a space for other people to fill up. 

I recently attended a writing meetup, and the group got onto the topic of curation versus creation, a topic that notoriously makes my blood boil. Within thirty seconds of the discussion, I started to feel my skin flushing and my fingertips tingling. I so badly wanted to cure the group of their misguided ways and shake some sense into the person speaking, until I remembered a few things. 

I just met these people. This is my first time here. Being right isn’t that important. And although speaking up would make me twenty percent more powerful, it would make the group fifty percent less optimistic. Bite your tongue, superman. 

And slowly, like a foot cramp in the middle of yoga class, the discomfort subsided. My pulse returned to normal. And the words of my favorite comedian filled my head. Carlin famously said:

Motivation is bullshit. If you ask me, this country could use a little less motivation. The people who are motivated are the ones who are causing all the trouble. Stock swindlers, serial killers, child molesters, religious fanatics, these people are highly motivated, highly motivated. Show me some lazy punk who’s lying around all day watching game shows and stroking himself, and I’ll show you someone who’s not causing any trouble. 

Next time you’re in a group meeting, practice contracting your power and personality. Try reeling it in a bit. 

Does immediately sharing your perspective result in other people longer wanting to argue for a different path?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

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