Motivation Is Trash

Every year the self-help industry generates billions of dollars, from books, seminars, YouTube videos, etc. If you were able to see my latest video where I listed my Top-10 Books, you might notice that I didn't include self-help/motivational books like "Think and Grow Rich," "The Magic of Thinking Big," or "The Secret." That was for a reason.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love those books that I've just mentioned. I have read those, and books like them multiple times. My library is full of them. However, I have realized after reading hundreds of pages of authors telling me I am strong, powerful, and can do anything I put my mind to, that the feeling of motivation is a fleeting one. Once we finish that book, turn off that TED Talk, or Gary Vee rant, we get a charge of energy and go after our goals with an unstoppable fervor. Then a day goes by, then a week, then a month and we need another shot of motivation. It's a neverending cycle that I find tiring.  

Today while listening to the Dreams In Drive Podcast, the guest, James Lopez, the founder of "Fatherhood is Lit" said one of the worst things he did while waiting to launch his business was read motivational books. I immediately understood what he meant by that statement. It seems counterproductive but reading too much, and watching too many motivational clips will paralyze you with anxiety before you can get that idea off the ground. Before launching this blog, I designed the site and waited a full month because I wanted to "read" more and research different blogs because I wanted everything to be just right. I wanted to wait for the right time, but as James said, the right time may never come. When I finally leaped I still wasn't all the way ready, but I was able to correct mistakes and learn on the move. 

Social media leads people to believe you will be motivated at all times as you are pursuing your vision. The truth is, there are days you really won't want to do anything but stay in bed. You can't rely on Eric Thomas to scream at you every time you feel too tired to go to the studio, write that screenplay, or go to the gym. If we are always chasing motivation, we are not running towards our actual goals. A kick in the ass can be good on those days you just don't have it; we're human. However, if it is always needed, you might have to reevaluate if what you are pursuing is actually what you want. At some point, you have to get fed up with reading how hard others worked to achieve their goals and want that for yourself. The best speakers are the ones who tell the truth about how difficult an endeavor is.

Ryan Holiday, bestselling author of works like Obstacle Is The Way, and Ego is the Enemy, always speaks about how hard writing a (good) book is. In a video, he mentioned talking people out of writing books if he can tell it's not what they truly want to do because he knows firsthand how arduous the process is. If every bestselling authors needed to read a motivational book or watch a video every time they get writer's block they wouldn't finish anything. So, I guess what I am saying is, we have to find it in ourselves to find our purpose and force ourselves to muster on. Our goals must be significant, and our drives must be high enough to continue even when it's the last thing we want to do. 

Dammit, I'm starting to sound like one of them. 🤦🏿‍♂️


Malcom X. Bowser is a writer, curator, and founder of Urban X.


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