Why motivational speeches don’t work?

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We all want to be productive. We all wish we could be motivated and we all want to do what no man has ever done before, or at least the 99% hasn’t. However, more often than we want to, we find ourselves in an overweight, lazy, unmotivated, working at a dead end job pit.

We watch a motivational video on the social networking website about the man who learned to play the Symphony number 2 while he cooked the best pan cakes you’ve ever tasted; all that after his horrific accident where he lost all of his limbs and an eye and
it moves our soul. We promise in the name of all that is holy and right in the world that this is the point beyond which our lives will be changed forever and I will transform myself into this six-pack beast whose everyday consists of a class act starting off with a revolutionary invention of a biofuel and ends with feeding the orphan ducklings in the local park.

Yet, after an hour we find ourselves with a bowl of fries in front of our TV watching the latest of the Kardashians. Again.

Why is it, that something so profound has no effect on us and every time we feel the burst of positive energy and then all of a sudden it is all gone?

Why is that self-help books are among the top ten best sellers yet, the number of people influenced or guided by them are less than the number of editions of that title?

The fact is this: every single person from those videos and every case study in the self-help book, everyone, before becoming that inspiration or achieving all that glory, have gone through pain and suffering of first understanding themselves, understanding what keeps them from growing, from becoming what they desire and where their inability actually lies.
It is only through the suffering of understanding ourselves and what we lack, that we can rise above it.

Embarking on that northern adventure, making a cabin in the woods, quitting your job and starting to work on your startup on a whim, that’s all going to be great for a time.  But as many things that we try to fill the little holes in our heart with, they all seem to fall; piece by piece. And we’re back to square one again.

It is because we choose not to suffer. It is because we do not choose to appreciate or rather understand that vacancy that we have right in the middle of the heart.

Like the comic says, not till we learn to run and enjoy the whooshing sound the hole makes in the wind, we cannot progress as a being. We cannot be fulfilled, motivated or be at peace.

No amount of motivational speeches and self-help books are going to fix us and no cabin in the wood is going to feel like home until we suffer and enjoy our home as a home and our current state of suffering as a reality. It is then, and only then that even a small ant carrying a load to her house can motivate us to take down a mountain.


My shitty grammer fixed by the very talented and super intelligent , Mehreen Qayas ( http://1800km.wordpress.com/ )

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Published by

Fahim Akhter

Fahim is a product manager with over 10 years of experience currently working as product head at MONT5. He focuses on user centric centric design, especially on brand, user experience and revenue product challenges. Prior to joining MONT5, Fahim's has worn multiple hats during his career from game production to product development but the emphasis has always been on creating unparalleled user experience and to help startups to make complex products more engaging. He has worked on diversified portfolio of startups including games, apps, education and e-commerce with product reach of 10M users across the globe. Fahim is a computer science graduate from FAST Islamabad. He volunteers for education and mentors students and startups, to help them grow and drive innovation.

One thought on “Why motivational speeches don’t work?”

  1. Its Samuel William Din from Pakistan, Karachi. I am a insurance agent. I never paid income tax and not submitted e filing of tax returns. I borrowed 200000 rupees from my friends and invested in stock exchange. As my friends had sent me money by cross cheques and online transfer, it remained in my and my wife’s account for one year then we invested. Now FBR has sent notices to me and my wife. My wife is staff nurse in Aga Khan Hospital and pays her tax there. But she has not mentioned this investment in her returns.
    Now we are in trouble. Please help us and save us from FBR as they are behind me and my wife.
    Thanks. Samuel William Din, Karachi.

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