The first motivational book I tried to read was a John Maxwell book. It was during the holidays after my first year in the university. After a few pages, I dropped it, picked up another text, finished that and returned to John Maxwell. I tried to finish the book but couldn’t. After that first attempt, I’ve tried to read several motivational texts from other great writers; from the Think and Grow Rich type to the ones that try to tell you about your riches in Christ. The only one I remember finishing is Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
When I talk about my dislike for motivational books I usually add a side note that the problem has to come from me and not the quality of the texts. There are lot of folks I respect who have a love for motivational texts and speakers. They just happen to lull me to sleep. Once in a while my dislike slips through on Facebook. Like when I posted this:
Thank God the motivational crowd is not as vindictive as some liberal groups or they would have attacked me. Is there a reason behind my dislike for all things motivational? I know someone has to remind couch potatoes like me that there’s a world out there for the taking, I just don’t get why it has to be done every time. I look at people who attend churches where their pastors preach motivational stuff every week and wonder how they survive. It’s good for us to feel in the clouds once in a while but too much of it has the same effect on me as eating a meal of icing sugar. A topping of it on my cake is good, but a plate of it will just make me sick.
I love Jesus. Sometimes when I read his words, he sounds like an anti-motivational speaker. Yes, there were times he said things to uplift the spirit of the people, but that was to people who were really down, not folks who wanted to feel convenient about life. He once fed five thousand with fish, but the next day when they expected more fish, he talked about feeding them his flesh. He told a rich dude to give away all his money. He told a guy who wanted to follow him not to, and told another who wanted to bury his father to let the dead bury their dead. That doesn’t sound motivational.
The ones that tell you to think outside the box without realising there is no worse box than a cliché
There’s a type of motivational speaker I find comical: the kind that just reads a few books on success, dons a sleek suit and speaks in some strange accent. They are the ones that tell you to think outside the box without realising there is no worse box than a cliché. These are a laughable lot and we’ll all be better if we stay away from them. But there’s a kind of motivational speaker that seems to have found value in some area of life we’ve all missed and is eager to spur us in that direction. To this kind I say, keep up the good work. Some of us will just never be motivated by that.
I’m more motivated by life, every day stories and characters from books whose writers have given the kind of life I aspire to live. This doesn’t mean I’m better than the man who lives on John Maxwell, Sam Adeyemi or Leke Adler. Their words just don’t work for me. Does it work for you? Am I missing something?