Motivation…food for the soul

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Everywhere I turn these days there’s a motivational speaker. My first encounter, if I remember rightly, was at an annual conference for a former employer.

It was fantastic. Dynamic. Soul-reaching (I smile) and most definitely one that roused the sedentary hairs on the back of my neck – if indeed there were any. And that was it. I can’t recall his name and I vaguely recall that he was linked to football. One might argue that he gave me the impetus to do the things I’ve longed to. But truthfully, I can’t recall one solitary word or one motivational message that I’ll carry with me to the grave. For me it was comparable to a sit-down meal at a wedding…the build up to it is colossal but I’ve never been to a restaurant afterwards and thought ‘hmmm I’ll order that because I ate it at the wedding and it was divine.’ Have you?It was fantastic. Dynamic. Soul-reaching (I smile) and most definitely one that roused the sedentary hairs on the back of my neck – if indeed there were any. And that was it. I can’t recall his name and I vaguely recall that he was linked to football. One might argue that he gave me the impetus to do the things I’ve longed to. But truthfully, I can’t recall one solitary word or one motivational message that I’ll carry with me to the grave. For me it was comparable to a sit-down meal at a wedding…the build up to it is colossal but I’ve never been to a restaurant afterwards and thought ‘hmmm I’ll order that because I ate it at the wedding and it was divine.’ Have you?


The real fly in the ointment for me are the speakers who sell you a ‘theory’. Blame it on the cynic in me but my inner voice is usually scratching away at the forefront of my brain waiting to offload the question that my conservative, polite self is holding back ‘Who the hell made you master of the universe?’ So, if I were to pitch up and sell people the theory that the sky in its orange hue was the source of all healing and energy and we should haul out the yoga mats and embrace the stars I could be making a ton of money right now.


In addition to the motivational speakers there are a plethora of people who can help you to map out your life, albeit personally or professionally. Now here I have to pause and follow a well trodden writers route – jumping back to the start - because I feel I should begin this blog with a disclaimer which states these views are all my own and if you disagree, that’s fine, I don’t claim to be right. However, to continue I must say that I’ve never been enthralled by the idea of someone helping me to carve out my future. Number one reason being that some of the best things that I have done have been unplanned. Okay, perhaps not completely by chance, perhaps I did conspire with the universe to put things in motion but the outcomes were far different from what I expected or even intended. And yet, they were awesome. A life coach may have opened up some tremendous doors for me or at least enabled me to find the handle myself. But you know what, ‘I’m good ‘I’m good thanks, I’d like to do it on my own’. And I smile again because those were probably my daughter’s first words. It’s in the blood you see.


What I do recognise is that some people seem to benefit immensely from the whole realm of motivation, self-help and what I call purging – telling your life story. But in the same way that some people revel in group therapy, I prefer a much more solitary approach. It works for me but we’re all made of different stuff so if that’s what drives you, cool. If the idea of creating a narrative identity for public consumption does not appeal it doesn’t mean that you’re lacking in any way – from another perspective you may be considered self-reliant and self-motivating and that’s a positive thing. I find exploring the great outdoors a fantastic way to reflect, ground myself and lay out the path ahead. If it’s good for soul then go ahead and do it is my motto. So, whilst this whole ‘motivational’ experience is not my bag I don’t intend to knock what’s food for someone else’s soul.

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