Motivational Speakers are Frauds… So Say The Angry Majority
I thought that success was largely down to a mix of talent and luck. Two things that you could not possibly ever control.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had entirely defaulted to the standard victim thinking that the majority of people adopt.
They say that youth is wasted on the young and I believe that’s completely right. Over the years I have watched how people respond to the challenges and obstacles of life. I have even had the privilege of being a father and observing how two new people get to grips with the world and struggle to find their place in it.
What I have concluded is that most people never manage to bust out of victim mode. Most people spend an entire lifetime throwing a pity party of massive proportions, and everyone is invited!
Life is not like a box of chocolates at all! I believe that life is like a train journey. Most of the people taking the trip are passengers, very few people decide to be the driver.
Now, these passengers are a diverse bunch. Some of them know where the train is going and don’t mind one bit. Some of them know where the train is headed and are mighty annoyed at the driver because of it. Others haven’t got the first clue where they are going or how long it will take to get there.
However, despite their varied states of mind, they all share one common position. None of them are completely content and at peace with the journey.
Even the relatively happy passengers have no say in where they are going, how fast the train will travel or how comfortable the journey will be.
Only the driver has that privilege.
The driver of the train gets the very best seat, right up front with the most amazing views. He gets to decide where the train is going, how quick it will get there and he even takes control of environmental controls so that he can set the temperature and humidity to suit himself entirely.
What it comes down to is this. The path of least resistance is to buy a ticket and just get on the train. The more difficult path is to apply for the position of a train driver, undertake many months of intensive training, spend the first few weeks of the job way out of your comfort zone. As you become responsible for the lives and safety of several hundred people every time, you take that train out of the station. Only after you have invested time, effort and money in your decision do you get to reap the rewards.
This is a perfect analogy for life.
Everything of value lies just outside our comfort zone.
It’s true that I have had many people argue with that statement. Have you ever noticed that some people are always looking for ways to be offended? Especially on social media.
I guarantee you that if I post that very same statement on Facebook today, by tomorrow, I will have dozens of very offended people commenting.
They will state that family and friends are inside the zone and they are perhaps the most valuable aspect of life. But maybe they won’t phrase it as politely as that.
They are as right as they are wrong!
It is true that your family, partner, and friends are gifts that no money or about or hard work could ever replicate. However, there is a huge difference between having children and being a father. There are a million miles between spending time with other people and being their friend. If you have little ones of your own, you will no doubt agree with me that you discovered with a shock that the role of being mother or father to those kids is a long walk from the outer edges of your comfort zone.
So, I will say it again. Everything of value lies just outside of our comfort zones. That is exactly why most people never get the life that they really want. That is why tens of millions of people endorse the dross they churn out on television every night, and that is why the majority of people will work a job they don’t like, for a boss who doesn’t appreciate them to stay in a relationship that doesn’t fulfill them.
But enough of this bleak outlook, this post is not for those people. This post is for the driver of the train, or at the very least the person who aspires to be the driver of the train.
Over the years I have listened to a lot of motivational speakers, and I do not doubt that you will see little inflections of my favorites in my style of writing here and there.
Some of the motivational speakers who have inspired and motivated me over the year include Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle and Zig Ziglar. These men write the sort of wisdom that my father would instantly dismiss as snake oil or worse. I was brought up by working-class parents from a background of hardship and hard knocks. My mom and dad would even keep a coffee jar on top of the TV to pop coins in, to save up for the electric bill.
But eventually, my father shook off his background and escaped poverty by bloody hard work and persistence. His journey out of the abyss would lead him to look at anything that suggested an easier way of doing things and declare it a scam or downright lies.
Motivational Speakers Inspired Me
When I would quote motivational speakers such as Zig Ziglar, who made grand statements such as ‘you can have anything you want in life’ and ‘you were born to win.’ My father couldn’t help but discard it all as new age nonsense. I can understand this skepticism because most people experience life sitting on the sidelines watching other people get lucky and get more than their fair share.
Individuals in the 80% (the term that I use to describe the passengers on the train) are told over and over again that life is hard, life is not fair, and the system is stacked against them. They are taught this mantra by the people who they love and trust the most, their family. Despite how it first appears, this message is not being passed down the line to cause misery.
Rather, my father told me all these motivational speakers I was listening to were peddling snake oil because he wanted to protect me. God forbid we get our hopes up and dare to dream that life can be deeply fulfilling, more than fair and profoundly rewarding.
As I sit here at my desk at the age of 43 I can tell you that is exactly what life is.
I am not telling you that to boast because I firmly believe when you get an Unstoppable mindset the very same or much better is possible for you too.