When one is feeling down, one just needs some words of motivation to get back in action. Today, there is a plethora of books selling under the genre of “Motivational works”. Some of them have already become best sellers while others are gaining momentum amongst the readers.
In the worst period of my life as a student, I committed the mistake of relying on other people’s words. I was an under confident kid and I knew the problem. So, whenever I discussed it with people, they would offer their piece of advice disguised in these books’ quotes.
“Everything will be alright”, they would begin. “As Napolean Hill says…”, this is how most of the conversations would end. Names changed but the pattern remained the same.
It was as if their own life was governed by the lessons given in these books. Horror! Horror!
I have a huge respect for the writers who write these motivational books. They have established a name for themselves and many people have found their works “useful”. Some have even found success by following the steps these books recommend.
But not me.
The biggest problem that I find with the motivational books is that they glorify success in a manner that a failure or its acceptance seems demeaning. If you go by their words, a quitter is a shame on society regardless of what he/she might have gone through before accepting that he/she can’t do a particular task anymore.
I have seen a lot of writers presenting Steve Jobs as an example of a good leader. Like really? If he was good at his work, he was equally bad in his treatment of people. To be honest, he might have done bad to people but he never said that he will be good. We weigh so much on the “good” that the “bad” seems controversial and completely unaccepted.
That’s what the dilemma of motivation is. Also, the way in which the stories are presented is itself questionable. John failed. Had he done the task “in this” manner, he would have succeeded, said the book. But hardly anyone sees John’s perception as to why he chose that particular method to do the task. No one sees the pain he might have gone through on seeing that things didn’t work out for him. He would have moved on and tried something else had you not placed the condition that there is only “one set method” to success.
The lessons in these motivational books do not accelerate the process of success. Instead, they inhibit it by putting conditions.
Failure is unaccepted, so these books give you everything that can help you turn the tables. What if I am really not cut out to do the job?
The problem is not that these books shame failure, the problem is that it becomes the norm.
You are not ‘allowed’ to fail. The shame not only gets associated with the act but also with the acceptance. So many businesses shut down every year, so many tasks remain uncompleted and so many things never materialize. But it is these failures that help us become cautious of the next step.
Our actions are nothing but a filtering process. If we do everything diligently and adopt the method of contemplation, we will reach that point where we will be able to assess the things that benefited us and the things we shouldn’t waste our time on.
We are flawed creatures. We are bound to make mistakes. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try and how strong our will is, we are not able to achieve some things. And it’s okay. The best part was that we tried. We did not give up. If we only have “success stories” as these books recommend having, what will we teach to our future generation?
After all, even these books are products of writers’ experiences and experiences can never be just “good”.
This is just my perception. You can always disagree. Also, I would like to hear how motivational books have helped you, if at all they have.