Problems with Motivational Speaking

So, now that I have given you a rough guide to why Wolfe is not such a bad guy after all, (see previous posts) I would now like to go into the problems of the methodology of American motivational speaking.

Strong elements from the past also render it extremely weak for the following broad reasons:

Plain English – motivational speaking is popular because of the homely tenor of delivery – speakers such as Earl Shoaff were poorly educated guys who took to network marketing to earn some extra buttons in the early part of their life.  Jim Rohn himself was basically a sales trainer for Herbalife in the latter part of his career.  I cannot imagine the level of worship that he enjoyed being replicated in Europe, for a number of very good cultural reasons. Whilst I have no problem with imaginative and non-patronising explanations for things – I once used doughnuts to explain the main theories in social philosophy, for example, sticking with a formula which worked sixty years ago is extremely limiting.  I watched Wolfe in the early part of his career becoming extremely frustrated with the apathy he was confronted with as he tried to grow various early versions of his model. (kudos to Wolfe for leaving this material online for me to gawk at)  Since then, he has found other ways around the problem. Suffice to say, the world has changed considerably since the Dale Carnegie/Earl Shoaff golden era of smartly dressed and respectful audiences writing down every word their chosen guru says. Today’s audience is more focused on education and a level of information provision that Shoaff and Rohn simply did not have to worry about. So, the answer here is to develop a more advanced methodology which includes a little tragedy with the optimism and present a more balanced and believable picture than in the past.

The rich are too rich – One of the more interesting features of Rohn, in this case, is that he does not bother to present himself as a particularly nice person, the grin that does not reach his cold dead eyes is particularly marked.  His assertion that we should wish to leave the 90/95/97 percent behind simply does not suit modern thinking – economically speaking, people are now well aware that having a tiny percentage of extremely rich people at the expense of everyone else is not a feature of a healthy society. So, rather than a ‘forget the negatives and affirm yourself to wealth’ approach, today’s speakers would be well advised to shoot for an informative way to implore the audience to collectively raise their personal bar of achievement.  I had a look at The Secret a few years back, and it was so despicable in its approach that I was unable to continue with it.  Reality check – people are starving to death and we all hate banks – social capital is the future, not leaving people behind to die whilst we roll about in our money. Interestingly, economic anthropology shows that we are thinking more consciously about others in the west as our countries are richer – third world experiments show a far more dog-eat-dog mentality.  So, unless you plan to market to a developing nation – try to show some sign of ethical values.

Plagiarism – keeping a journal of things to make you richer is a very bad idea unless you plan to reference everything extremely carefully.  It is considered to be acceptable in oratory, because obviously it is impossible to reference every line you say in the course of delivering information.  It is, however, relatively simple to paraphrase, and equally easy to mention the source of your great ideas. Rohn’s premise of journal keeping, and using anecdotal material to get your point across is just not going to cut it for the future. Instead, it is again quite easy to pepper your material with useful or otherwise stimulating information and heartfelt goodwill to your fellow humans.

The pyramid must die – This is a personal observation – it is time to kill the pyramid – the one percent sit at the top of it.  There are other formulations, from the time of the Medici, which I am able to go into, but will save this for a different post or possibly book. If you are employing or being told to employ your affirmations or motivational techniques as part of a sales scheme in which you are on the lower ranks of yet another layered network, just get out of it and find some ideas of your own.  You are not onto a winner in the vast majority of cases.

Stop hitching your wagon to other people – I have witnessed life coaches and motivational speakers alike who speak in almost religious terms about their inspiration.  I think I have demonstrated from my non-relationship with Wolfe that it is entirely unnecessary to worship your inspiration.  It is entirely possible to see people for what they are, admire them for the good bits, and kick them in the ass for the bad.  It is called, amusingly, being objective.  Objective objectification, in my case, presumably, given my ongoing project. I do this mainly because I want him to get what he wants from his life, but this does not mean that I have any responsibility for his success or failure, that is entirely up to him.  My direction is parallel, rather being on the same wagon trail. The point is that there is no answer – you should be shooting for your own path, not dragging your heels on someone else’s. Which brings me on to my final point for this evening –

Original Material – despite the many problems I would love to get my teeth into, (alas I am not a 22 year old beach bunny) Wolfe’s use of whimsy kept me listening to him for several weeks before I realised why it sounded so familiar, and yet so odd.  His timing is impeccable, just when you are thinking you have heard enough about premium spirulina, along comes some random wildness that shocks you back into your chair.  Whilst this is to be applauded, it is important to self-generate something that is completely your own.  You need to wallow happily in your own filth, to a certain extent, to be producing something that you are so comfortable with that you own your topic, whether you are writing, or speaking.  Being confident is not about following a model, it is about making use of a model for your own purposes.  It is imperative that any keen audience get some sense of acceptance. Bringing a sense of dignity to your audience whilst raising their consciousness may seem like a return to an evangelical approach, but it is perfectly possible to instill pride, and make use of it, in an audience which has been lulled into defeat by an increasingly oppressive meritocratic approach.  This does not mean that you start every speech with tales of poverty and anecdotes of failure, as used by Zig Ziglar, but it does mean that you remove the barriers from an increasingly cynical and browbeaten public.

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A Goal is a Dream with a Deadline

One thing since my family disaster in the form of both parents getting dementia has been the death of the personal deadline. I should be concerned about this, since I have traditionally been fond of work deadlines as a method of avoiding the rest of my life.

I am going to fly in the face of any motivator and tell you the truth – deadlines are no good for quality. I have got much further since I abandoned the deadline. I do things when I feel like it, for as long as I feel like it and the rest of my time is pretty much eaten up by 24/7 responsibility for my mother and her property.

The fact that I am trapped in the house by her illness and the lack of support has meant that I have no distractions in the form of looking after or enjoying myself, and so I feel I can afford the luxury of time. Some of the first batch were being thought about for over a year before they were actually completed, and I can honestly say this has made my work better.

The work went into the 3rd dimension only after a personal crisis brought about by an event outlined vaguely in Best Scandal Ever. Finding out that I cannot expect even the smallest amount of respect from a desk jockey agent when trying to help somebody basically caused me to decide that nothing mattered, and the removal of time and the restraint of ambition has meant I have all the time in the world to perfect this one thing that I can confidently say is unique to me.

So much for your standard motivational garbage then. A disaster of rejection has led to me finally doing what I probably should have done in the first place – ignore everyone and do whatever I feel, whenever I feel like doing it.

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Learning from idiots

The recent use of idiocy in the USA to keep Donald Trump in the media, and overspill back in Scotland, is not the only thing which has caused me to ponder the value of being an idiot.  Given that in terms of my emotional attachment to Wolfe, I too am a kind of professional idiot, I am now pondering the value of idiocy.

Trump has taken some minor financial hits in the last couple of days, Oman and Scotland have reported third party business losses as a result of his shameless self promotion and moronic self-regard.  I wonder if he calculates this on a profit/loss basis?  For a person hailed as a business expert, if he has not done this, then perhaps he makes his living shooting his mouth off and having other people use the convenient pun of his name for their own purposes. It would make more sense if people were looking at each other across the boardroom table, rolling their eyes and signing away fortunes on the basis of having the word Trump on the side of a building.

The spectacular headline that Trump would have made more money doing nothing, makes me think that running your mouth is an outstandingly popular activity in the idiocracy that is the USA. Certainly the examples we are shown here in the UK indicate that the American rich are similar to the lower middle classes, in terms of the glorification of self interest and lack of perceived duty and humility, something which I have always felt made us much stronger as a nation in the UK.

Recently, of course, we in the UK have taken to inviting foreign money to bolster the luxury market and conceal the fact that economically speaking, our government does not even remember the simple economic principles of Maggie Thatcher.  Yes, she dictated that it was a good idea to kill off unsustainable nationalised industry, but nobody in the current government seems to have put this together with encouraging small to medium sized business, proportionately enormous employers, with enhancements to investibility and encouragement of the general population to risk everything replanting the economic garden by starting small businesses.

Perhaps we should have a Chancellor that can count, with a memory of thirty years ago so that he does not miss this crucial detail.  Instead he is starving the poor in order to fund crappy and equally corrupt Labour PFI policy damage and fund his cronies in the defence industry, whilst everyone apparently sits at home and wonders why their respective riots are not reported on the media.  We in Scotland are well aware that the media is suppressing information from little England.  For the benefit of the terminally stupid Conservative voters, sitting in their ‘Alright Union Jack’ properties – try looking up DEMONSTRATION SUPPRESSED BY THE MEDIA and you will find a list of unreported action by students, anti-war protesters, people protesting the starvation of the disabled.  We are being treated just as badly as the Americans in terms of the assumption that we are all too stupid to care that we are led by people too knuckle-draggingly dumb to be allowed out of the cocaine room at the private members club.

At this point in my life I am of the opinion that we should take this as a sign that no matter our history or our previous lack of confidence and motivation, we should take matters into our own hands.  We need to find ways around the problem in terms of making use of things like crowdfunding, social capital and our own good ideas to regrow our own gardens.  If you have harboured even the shred of a dream, have a look at how to make it work on a basis that the silly boys in Westminster cannot interfere with.

Likewise, my inability to make love work for me, no matter how much work I pour into expressing myself, should tell me that love is just not for me.  I should give up on drilling my way through a shell of self protective superficiality and forget that Wolfe is actually a perfectly functioning and rather frightened person wrapped up in a blanket of bullshit.  I should move on to someone that presents a facade of emotional competence, and wait for the inevitable conclusion that nobody knows what they are doing and it is all futile.  I should not waste my time recovering from bad experiences, instead being aware that life is short, and since there is no actual truth, I might as well role play my way through the traditional markers of age and time.  I should not make any effort to communicate.  I should make distinctions between global politics and the vagaries of my own emotion.  I certainly should not mix the topics, in case I confuse people determined to sleep their way through life and put full stops on it where none exist.

Perhaps what we should learn from idiocy, is that all progress is futile, because sooner or later, someone who prioritised money or power over knowledge decided that we just don’t matter.  Nothing matters at all in fact, apart from making sure that we get more jelly beans from life than the idiot next to us.

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Introversion improves Confidence

Do you ever find yourself saying what you think people want to hear?  Do you cringe at what you have said and wonder why you felt you had to say it?  Are you the hardest worked life and soul of the party you know? Do you regard yourself as over-reactive and try to compensate with over-generosity or putting even more work into making people like you?  Do you ever fall victim to ‘running your mouth?’  If you answer yes to any or all of these things you may be an extrovert introvert.

An extrovert-introvert is basically an introvert who chooses to appear as an extrovert.  This may be for a variety of reasons.  Work was mine.  Head chefs in particular, may think that they are necessarily loud, big personalities who dominate the space they are in because it is expedient for the purposes of getting the job done under pressure. eg. Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White etc.  Some of the best chefs I have met, however, were actually shy, quiet people who worked to greater technical specification and gained more respect from the art itself. eg. Anton Mossiman, Andrew Fairlie.

I remember when I was very young, saying that I could not cope with any more crowds as I was getting tired from having to be six or seven people.  Quite apart from the callow and impressionable youth, I was expressing my introversion. Living in a very large house, I had always had the luxury of several hours a day with no-one bothering me, which I would spend reading or making things, since music was frowned upon, but that is another story.

If you frequently find yourself beating yourself up over stuff you have said or done, it may be time to admit to yourself that you actually prefer your own company and spending some time ALONE.  It is almost certainly better for your health than constantly tripping over an overactive tongue, and may save you future problems with your existing relationships.  I certainly found that after I became a recluse, the people who wanted to see me badly enough to seek me out, were doing so to get some sort of guidance that I had no idea I was providing.  You are nearly always stronger/brighter/quicker than you think.

After ten years away from my old friends when travelling, I was astonished to find that the vast majority of them had done nothing apart from seek validation from each other since I had left.   This seemed to me to be very sad.  Now, as an unashamed introvert, having distanced myself even from them, I achieve a lot more and am better rested and considerably more confident than I ever was as a bad tempered, brusque chef who was always in charge.

It is wise to conduct a cost benefit analysis, and figure out if you can squeeze yourself some time alone.  Make it a priority and find out who you really are.  I can tell you that almost all of the time, you are better off without the advice of even the most well-meaning friend, and you are certainly better off without the warped role playing advice of your family.

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Economic Raw Food for the Brain

About a fortnight ago, a tearful young lady had put a message up on facebook complaining that she was tired of being disposable, that nobody had any feelings anymore and she did not feel that she could live like that.

I very quickly replied that her generation had been brought up for a transient existence because transience is good for the economy, and that if she expected to change anything, she was just going to have to rebel.  She did not reply. A good example of this symptom of the Western economic disease is one of IKEA’s campaigns, which entreated the viewer to get divorced and buy some furniture. This is a fairly advanced gag for the European market, but an important one.

I am sure this phenomenon, of personal disposability and the need to continuously upgrade yourself, started during my generation or even earlier in the USA, but in the UK even people two years younger than me show a marked difference to people of my own age. The sublimation of cultural influence is so finely tuned now, that even 20 odd months make a difference. Where I got much the same post war creative children’s programming as my older peers, I noted as far back as the 1980s that colours in newer TV shows were more akin to sales signs and children were being discouraged from actually making anything in favour of showing off another purchase. I was met with dismay in the 1990s when I made a serious complaint to the BBC about it.

It is very sad, and very bad for fulfilling personal development that we are now training people to despise menial jobs and assume that the answer to all ills is to purchase happiness.  It is equally sad to destroy the sense of commitment that, despite sacrificing a sense of day to day contentment, provided people with the stability required to move beyond Candy Crush Saga, to discuss more important things and perhaps volunteer to do something about them instead of assuming powerlessness.  Being serious is now considered to be something undesirable and unattractive. People like this poor girl feel that their emotions are somehow unacceptable, and that feeling anything renders them worthless.  Compare this with even fifty years ago, and you will see exactly how much you have been manipulated.

Post 90s babies may not even have access to people who remember when it was OK to have feelings and make lousy Valentine’s cards (or whatever else) for each other as it now seems to be desirable to throw the elderly into a care home.  Boys are now deprived of the company of their fathers, fixing broken items or inventing new ones, because the traditional skill level has been depleted for the benefit of the Political Economic Paradise we are so fortunate to live in. Now they are supposed to jump into the second car and buy something new to keep somebody somewhere (else) in work. All so that your government can show you another couple of percent growth and keep you voting for them.  You can also count yourself responsible for perpetual war and student loans, since these are also part of the economic machine that is running out of steam.

I, perversely, count myself lucky to be in a position to show you exactly how much you have been conned. Time is money – no, money is time, and time is worth a lot more than cash to you if you know how to use it effectively and have sufficient motivation to do something with it.  Nobody is powerless, and nobody is worth more than you just because they are good at extracting cash from their employer or anybody else they do business with. Don’t ever let anybody tell you otherwise, stop comparing yourself to them and stop worrying about what people might say if you actually care about something.  You may well surprise yourself.

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