I watched a video that showed a dog ‘attacking’ a tiger. The tiger ignored the dog for sometime and then fought back. As expected, the tiger went for the kill. The caption on that video read, “This dog must have listened to a motivational speaker”.
A lot of posts and comments are coming up daily on why people shouldn’t listen to motivational speakers or read motivational books. The first time I saw a post like this, I was appalled because I know the importance of motivation in people’s daily lives. Even learning can’t take place if the learner is not motivated. So, why do people all of a sudden turn against motivational speakers?
I don’t really know the answer, but I think I can make some guesses from my observations. From what I gathered, most people believe that motivational speakers misguide people. I won’t debate on this because it is a matter of personal experience. However, it will be worthy to note here that most motivational speakers aren’t experts in what they ‘teach’. They only talk based on their own experience. And by experience, I mean what they have encountered or have seen others encounter, or even feel that others encountered, within their locality. In other words, they only express what they know, and not what is obtainable everywhere. So, it will be wrong for a Nigerian to apply what is ‘taught’ by an American motivator because they operate in different environments with different cultures and values.
Another argument against motivational speakers is that they don’t walk their talk. This argument is as old as man (remember the case of the Pharisees in the Bible). A good example given by most people here is that most motivational speakers advise people to walk away from job interviews because the interviewers were wasting their time. Another matter like this I came across is where a man complained that his wife always talks to women on how to manage their homes while she couldn’t handle hers. Anyway, like we were told in the Bible, listen to their words but don’t do what they do (lol). And like Igbo’s saying goes, “use your tongue to count your teeth” (meaning that you should act according to your discretion).
The last pointer against motivational speakers is that they are sometimes pushy. Most of them give out the air of ‘experts’ and tell their listeners and readers to do things exactly the way they (the speakers) prescribed if they want to succeed. These speakers fail to give their listeners and readers the room to do things differently. This approach of theirs can cause frustration and depression for a lot of their followers because the prescribed methods may just not work for them. By the end of the day, the negatively affected followers will either find out that there are better options or will wallow in their despair. Either way, the motivational speakers lose their fans.
Despite all these things, motivational speakers are still needed. For starters they are the tonics of the mind. Listening to motivational speakers is like taking daily dose of blood tonic and multivitamins so that you will stay healthy. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have blood and energy to move you into action; it only means that you will hardly get fatigued as you carry out your works. Motivational speakers are there to ensure that you don’t lose hope and focus in your endeavours.
Motivational speakers are morale boosters. I have personally experienced this part of them. Anytime you feel down and you listen to good a motivational speaker, you will be surprised at how he will lift up your spirit. Their talks can supply people with the zeal to carry out difficult tasks. They always seem to reach down deep into that part of people that inspires them. They can make their audience see opportunities in their challenges. They make their audience want to act and achieve positive results.
Good motivational speakers heal their listeners and readers. They usually do this by using their stories to make their audience feel that they are not alone in their struggles. They make their audience see that whatever they are passing through is not peculiar to them. Most people who are facing emotional, mental and psychological trauma usually get some relief after listening to speakers that addressed their problems. They inspire people to make changes that will help them in their personal and professional lives. They help people to look deep into their lives and see themselves in a positive light.
Finally, motivational speakers give their audience the feeling of companionship. Every motivational speaker is seen as a ‘friend’ by his audience. They always give people the feeling that they (the speakers) care about them. Being a motivational speaker means one has to open one’s door for constant communication from one’s audience. This duty of motivational speakers has saved a lot of people from harming themselves.
In all, motivational speakers encourage people to act – both positively and negatively. The world needs them. We all need them. But then, we have to sieve through to make sure we are listening to good ones.