Joshes and Joshettes, it’s Monday and normally this would be a Business post but it’s not. Today is Labor Day, so I decided to change it up and write a Motivation Monday post with a twist. Get ready to get some insight into the mind of Josh.
Instead of making you read until the end to find the answer, let me tell you the inspiration for this post. It’s Sunday night and I’m blasting music on the stereo. The entire weekend has come and gone without me accomplishing anything. There’s a party being thrown in my backyard but instead of partaking, I’m listening to music in the dark. I grab my iPad and start browsing the motivation subreddit. After about five minutes of browsing, I decide to stop feeling sorry for myself and I open up the Kindle app and I click on a certain book from my virtual bookshelf. It was a self-help book I had started reading three weeks prior and stopped reading right in the middle. I made it my goal to finish the book by 11 pm (it was 8:30 pm) and I was able to finish the second half of the book by 10:45 pm. But before reaching the end, right when I had an hour left I thought about this topic. Here I was spending my Sunday evening seeking motivation just to finish a self-help book. Was it worth it? I don’t know.
For long-time readers, my answer comes as no surprise. There are times that motivation and self-help books actually help, whereas other times they do nothing. In this case, the motivational quotes got me to finish the book and finishing the book made me write this post. So this time the motivation and self-help did its job but there have been times where nothing happened after being exposed to them. One night about a year ago, I sat down to read “Success Through Stillness” by Russell Simmons and I finished it in one sitting. The book touches on the benefits of meditation and how to apply it to your life. The book even goes into detail on the techniques and process Russell Simmons uses. I picked up the book because I already knew the power of meditation and I wanted to start meditating. After finishing the book, I tried to meditate for a couple of days and failed each time. Even though self-help did nothing for me then, it was the one factor that helped me change my life years prior.
It was 2015 and I was twenty-five years old looking back on my life. I felt like I hadn’t accomplished anything and my life had already reached its peak years ago. Since I was willing to try anything, I decided to pick up a book by Steve Harvey called “Act Like A Success, Think Like A Success”. In this book, Steve Harvey says everyone has a gift and that many of us never utilize it. After finishing the book. I did some soul searching to find my gift; when I was younger I won competitions in math, I was also good with fixing computer hardware and I was good at all things regarding cell phones. Which of the three was my gift? None of them were my gift, my gift was writing. After realizing my gift, I did what I thought was right, I hid it away. That book did nothing for me at that specific point in time. Some people would say reading the book was a waste of time but in the year 2016 something happened. I started implementing what I learned from the book and started writing again. What was once a waste of time, became the reason behind the creation of this site. That’s the thing about motivational material and self-help books, they might not help you today but they have the power to change your life.
Zig Ziglar has a saying “People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.” You can’t listen or read self-help books or motivational material once and expect your life to change. I’m not the type of person who listens to motivational audios every morning when I wake up and I’m not reading a self-help book every week. As you read in the beginning of this post, I am the opposite of a happy go lucky person. Despite being different than the normal consumer of this content, I see the benefits of it. At the same time, I also see the drawbacks. I already used some stories to demonstrate some of the benefits others include changing your mindset, changing your state and creating hope. The disadvantages of motivational material and self-help books are becoming “high” on positivity and believing things will get better by itself. Let’s tackle “high” on positivity, I’ve seen many people who smile no matter what the situation. This may seem like a good thing but anything in excess is bad and if you use positivity as a defense mechanism you should reevaluate your outlook on life. The part about believing things or your life will get better by itself is the worst effect that can come out of this genre of content. If you take no action but you believe things will get better then nothing will happen. Believing things will get better is great but without action, it’s a pipe dream. It’s one thing to say you are going to lose weight because you are motivated but it’s another thing to put in the work and eat right. All the self-help and motivation in the world means squat if you do nothing with it.
As you can probably tell by now, my answer, in the beginning, is correct. I don’t know if self-help books or motivational content work because it all depends on the person and also the circumstances. What works for me may or may not work for you and this post has been a recollection of my experiences with the topic. Let me know in the comments below of your experience with motivation and self-help. Thanks, Josh.