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Why Motivational Speechs / Talks / Videos Don't Work?

Question asked by Kaustubh Katdare in #Coffee Room on Jun 28, 2012
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Jun 28, 2012
Rank A1 - PRO
[I know no one likes to read long articles because they are boring. I however want you to read this article, think about it and if possible react to it in comments beyond just 'I like it' or 'Nice article'. I also request you to ignore my grammatical mistakes and typos because I highly rely on spell checker]

We all have listened to motivational speeches in our lifetime to feel inspired. I've read several motivational, self-help, personality development, inspiring books, blogs, articles etc. in the past few years. I've even been invited to talk at events that are expected to inspire people and motivate them to 'something'. That something often is an expected action. I've even been told how my talk was motivating but I know it isn't; because I've realized that there's nothing that can motivate you.

I was thinking of putting this on my personal blog, but then thought of writing it here.

You obviously want to say that you've been motivated by a talk, a person, a video (the Steve Jobs speech at Stanford, for example). Yes, I agree that you can get inspired or feel highly motivated after listening to a speech - but tell me, how long does that motivation last? My observation discovers that the motivation won't last for more than just a few hours or a day or two at max.

Motivation does not last longer. Here are examples -

You have your own examples but I'll take just a few examples that are common to most of us. Remember when the doctor said you need to start exercising and really motivated us into doing it because it would give us good health? Then, the-100%-inspired-you went back home, got up early in the morning and exercised with all focus. You even did your exercise for full 20 minutes. You felt good and motivated. Then came the next day that never saw you getting up at 6 and doing your exercise. You came up with your own excuses and I bet continue to hold them till today.

Remember getting pumped up about becoming a blogger, writing your first 3 posts and then the title of your last post says "I'll be back, promise!".

Remember reading 'You Can Win' book? It sure did inspire you. But ask how long did that inspiration last?

Remember scoring lesser than expected marks in your semester exams? You vowed that you'll start preparing for the next semester well in advance. But you never did. History just got repeated.

Why does motivation not last longer?

You know the answer already: Motivation does not last longer because it's external. External motivation is like a cup of coffee. It makes you feel awesome for few minutes but the effect goes down fast with time. The fact of life is : External Motivation Does Not Last Longer.

Is there a fix? Can I be motivated without any external means?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes and people do it very effectively. I've even found a super-fix in an amazingly famous Bollywood dialog (sharing it below). If you want to be motivated you need to have a *MIX* of the following. Any one component missing will destroy the formula for staying motivated and achieving what you want to achieve.


Strong Extreme Desire To Achieve Something [A Goal]:

This is the hardest part and it has to come naturally to you. If you do not have anything to achieve - you're fine. You'll just do fine with regular, small doses of inspiration. A lot of people would fit in this category; typically the people who will take what the situations offer to them. They will not envision their future and accept whatever comes their way.

There will be other category of people who'll want to determine their own future. For example "I'll get into IIM-A" or "I want to get a job with Google, no matter what it takes" types. These are the people who need longer lasting motivation, which has to come from 'within'.

Very high Super-Duper Excitement About Your Future, That You've Envisioned:
Inner motivation comes naturally when you're super-duper excited about the future you've envisioned for yourself. Super-duper excitement is of the sorts that haunts your mind no matter what you're doing - whether you're in shower, you're in a meeting, you're partying with your friends, you're sitting idle. Unless the excitement level builds to 'that' level, no motivation will ever work or transform into action.

If you aren't madly excited about topping University exams or buying a duplex apartment in Mumbai or becoming a successful blogger or building a successful business or collecting enough money to fund your world-tour; your motivation is basically useless and will die out in hours.

Commitment To Yourself:

Salman Khan said, "Ek Baar Jo Maine Commitment Kar Di...To Fir Mein Apne Aap Ki Bhi Nahi Sunta" [ Once I've made a commitment, I won't listen to myself ] meaning, once I've made a commitment, I'll not break it no matter what. Those are very powerful words! Motivation lasts when your commitment to yourself is so strong that nothing, absolutely nothing in the world can break it.

Say you are so mad about getting a job with your dream company that you keep visualizing yourself walking in its campus, seeing yourself sitting on the desk, interacting with other employees etc. You also know that you'll have to crack their aptitude test, technical and HR interviews and you commit to yourself that you'll do 'whatever it takes't to crack the hurdles. Then keeping your commitment to yourself is what will keep you motivated for long!

In recent times, I've found out that keeping up with my own commitment of being regular in gym is extremely difficult. Yet, it's kind of an awesome feeling when I get over all my laziness and excuses and hit the gym floor.

To summarize, I think it's
Desire + Excitement + Commitment = Constant, Undying Motivation
That Transforms Into Actions.

These actions then produce the desired result. Motivational talks of course can keep adding boosters to your undying motivation.

Do share your views, thoughts, opinions.

Update: I talked on this topic at TEDx SITM. Here's a video of it -

Posted in: #Coffee Room
Pensu
Pensu · Jun 28, 2012
Rank B1 - LEADER
Good point. I have a feeling that I have read something like this before too...😉 Anyways, the idea is good and yes you are right, external motivation doesn't last. The only way I can be motivated is when I really want to do something from inside. Speeches/Articles/Stories motivate you until the time you go to bed...😛 One more thing I want to add is conditions also matter. You cant work with your 100 percent until the circumstances force you to.

P.S.: The gym thing happens a lot to me too....😉
AbhishekBiswas
AbhishekBiswas · Jun 28, 2012
Rank D3 - MASTER
motivating , inspiring advice BigK ....
but its the situation or the time-period one facing--- matters a lot.
Saandeep Sreerambatla
Saandeep Sreerambatla · Jun 28, 2012
Rank A2 - PRO
I agree with you completely, but with few exceptions.

This is my experience with the motivation, there could be a situation where you are trying to achieve something big, and you are lacking some inspiration to work, or do something in that front. Then the short motivations work and will put you back to your normal state.

If a person who read Atlas Shrugged here is the line,
"He had attended to the matter without breaking his chain of appointments, without raising his voice, without sign of strain, uncertainty or apprehension; he had acted with the swift precision of a military commander under sudden fire"
This is done by Hank Rearden when he is big big trouble. He just leaned back and thought that he is failing for 5 mins.
I have read this book a year ago and I still remember everything that happened and how to relate it.

So, I dont think reading books etc is external motivation completely, Its just how you relate to your life and your aspirations.
Saandeep Sreerambatla
Saandeep Sreerambatla · Jun 28, 2012
Rank A2 - PRO
Biggie I understood your intentions of the speech! I could relate many people whom I know 😀 and myself too.
Ramani Aswath
Ramani Aswath · Jun 28, 2012
Rank A1 - PRO
I had referred to the American Philosopher William James's book: The Principles of Psychology in my post on how it helped me break that prenicious nicotine habit. I quote below the part that was the operative one, which is relevant to what you say.
Quote:
In Professor Bain's chapter on 'The Moral Habits' there are some admirable practical remarks laid down. Two great maxims emerge from his treatment. The first [p.123] is that in the acquisition of a new habit, or the leaving off of an old one, we must take care to launch ourselves with as strong and decided an initiative as possible. Accumulate all the possible circumstances which shall re-enforce the right motives; put yourself assiduously in conditions that encourage the new way; make engagements incompatible with the old; take a public pledge, if the case allows; in short, envelop your resolution with every aid you know. This will give your new beginning such a momentum that the temptation to break down will not occur as soon as it otherwise might; and every day during which a breakdown is postponed adds to the chances of its not occurring at all.
The second maxim is: Never suffer an exception to occur till the new habit is securely rooted in your life. Each lapse is like the letting fall of a ball of string which one is carefully winding up; a single slip undoes more than a great many turns will wind again. Continuity of training is the great means of making the nervous system act infallibly right. As Professor Bain says:
"The peculiarity of the moral habits, contradistinguishing them from the intellectual acquisitions, is the presence of two hostile powers, one to be gradually raised into the ascendant over the other. It is necessary, above all things, in such a situation, never to lose a battle. Every gain on the wrong side undoes the effect of many conquests on the right. The essential precaution, therefore, is so to regulate the two opposing powers that the one may have a series of uninterrupted successes, until repetition has fortified it to such a degree as to enable it to cope with the opposition, under any circumstances. This is the theoretically best career of mental progress."
The need of securing success at the outset is imperative. Failure at first is apt to dampen the energy of all future attempts, whereas past experience of success nerves one to future vigor. Goethe says to a man who consulted him about an enterprise but mistrusted his own powers: "Ach! you need only blow on your hands!" And the remark illustrates the effect on Goethe's spirits of his own habitually successful career. Prof. Baumann, from whom I borrow the anecdote,[17] says that the collapse of barbarian [p.124] nations when Europeans come among them is due to their despair of ever succeeding as the new-comers do in the larger tasks of life. Old ways are broken and new ones not formed.
Endquote

I completely agree that internalizing is the only way to get anything done. No external agency can do it for you. Otherwise all that happens is a 'Feel Good' euphoria that ends with the clapping at the end of the lecture or click of the remote.
This applies to all aspects of life including spiritual quest. A guru can just show you the way much as Google maps do. You have to go. If there is no burning desire, a fire in the belly, all that haapens is a mental resolve (bolstered by the certainty of procrastination):'I will do it. Tomorrow. Soon. As soon as this chore is behind me' and reaching for the bag of chips.

Doing something day after day is the very Devil if it is not from within.

I have never trusted on motivational external material,, except as an add on to my own internal commitment
As Shakespeare put it:To thine own self be true.
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Jun 28, 2012
Rank A1 - PRO
Motivational material can only act as rocket booster, not the rocket itself. The reason I wrote above article is because I meet many people who want to 'do something' - give up on a habit, crack an exam, be regular at gym, develop reading hobby, write blog posts, buy a flat, change job, get married, earn more money but do nothing about it.

I believe the first two factors affect them: Not Enough Desire and Not Enough Excitement.

Our goals may change with life. When I was in engineering I 'wanted' to become an entrepreneur and run a business. I always thought entrepreneurs have ability to change things for better and still hold that thought. The thought was so intense that I based my decisions accordingly. I took up a job with a company close to my house, I read lot of entrepreneurial stories, started preparing for IIMS (because I thought I'd find people who'll help me starting a business) and so on. It turned out that things turned into my favor to help my realize my dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

Now, I've newer goals - growing this business and creating world's most amazing place to work at for all the engineers. I don't know whether it'll be real or not; but I get up with that thought every morning. What's more interesting is that whatever I do as a part of my job is totally exciting for me and never seems to bore me (no matter what people say) 😀 .

I do listen to motivational talks and speeches. I also read books only to boost my ongoing motivation towards my goals.

Glad that you liked what I wrote.
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Jun 29, 2012
Rank A1 - PRO
I feel like there are no buyers to my book that I spent few years writing 😁. It'd be great to have people expressing their opinion on what I wrote above. Feel free to share your personal experiences, thoughts, views, whether what I said makes sense etc.

In short - open up and don't feel shy. Speak up! Open up!
durga ch
durga ch · Jun 29, 2012
Rank A2 - PRO
Personally in my case I think, a long term goal is needed as well. Many of us(including me) feel elated/relaxed after acheiving the shorter goal in the process of achiving longer goal and slack down and the point#1 mentioned fades out.
Saandeep Sreerambatla
Saandeep Sreerambatla · Jun 30, 2012
Rank A2 - PRO
The_Big_K
I feel like there are no buyers to my book that I spent few years writing 😁. It'd be great to have people expressing their opinion on what I wrote above. Feel free to share your personal experiences, thoughts, views, whether what I said makes sense etc.

In short - open up and don't feel shy. Speak up! Open up!
You are already motivating with the above lines 😀

I will buy your book! As I told you earlier, there is one more book called Secret most of you might know it.

If you start believing that book and things that happen with your life , you will never think negative about others or about your life. Thats a great positive boost.

That helped me few years ago (2010) when I was in a pretty bad phase of my life.
Saandeep Sreerambatla
Saandeep Sreerambatla · Jun 30, 2012
Rank A2 - PRO
But, in all the situations I wanted to do better, or become healthier or whatever. I had that desire (burning) and the books helped me to concentrate on what I wanted.
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Jun 30, 2012
Rank A1 - PRO
@ES: If the book helped you - I'm 100% sure that it only added a booster to your existing desire to get out of situation. I've read the book and it had no effect on me. Maybe because I've read enough number of books already.
Saandeep Sreerambatla
Saandeep Sreerambatla · Jun 30, 2012
Rank A2 - PRO
Yes all external only helps if we have something inside 😀 100 % true!

I have seen many people, who want to get out of their current **. it may be habit , relationship, job, shape, whatever. If they dont have it from inside even god cant help them.

There is a saying in telugu, true translation in English.
"You can pull the Horse near to the lake, but you cannot make it drink" so we need to have something in us so that all external will add and we will win.

Personally I have many goals, I achieve few and fail as well. IN whatever I am failing I know that I am not putting enough effort to win. So even I join a gym and dont go everyday that will not help me in putting on weight. So I have a external resource here but it will not help.

But Biggie, there are many people in the world who needs motivation. Who needs to tell them that they can, people who have something in them will do something good atleast for few days to months.
Few people get inspired everyday with the desire (Big one as you said) and they will achieve. People/person without a purpose has nothing to do in this world.
xheavenlyx
xheavenlyx · Jul 4, 2012
Rank B1 - LEADER
I wanted to quote so many of your and @bioramani's post that they became too many to list. This topic is very close to my heart.

What both of you have said is absolutely true. If the 'want' does not come from inside, no one can do anything to change that. It reminds me of trying to change a friend of mine because I knew she could do better, but simply, she did not want to change. It was an exercise in futility. And that brings me to the next point.

I have come to understand that the people who think "I am happy, maybe this is what we all do, I can't escape my past so f it" cannot be forced into change. It hurts, to come to know everyone is not the same. Otherwise we would have every person opening a company wanting to lead people into greatness. (Some people are very happy by just being an office boy, difference is, are you happy with what you do? If an office boy is content, he is much better off than a CEO of a large corp. I would appreciate his contentedness.)

Then there are people who say, "I realize I am not happy with this, I need to change and I 'want' to change because I want my life to have a meaning, make a difference in people's lives.".

They are the ones who need to be pushed. Mentoring and apprenticeship is something I value a LOT. It's for the kind who are lost but want to find the way.

Now, the first step has been taken. What next?

For me, it got bad. I did not know what to do. Sometimes I just didn't care. Apathy, is the worst state to be in. What will my success change? Why do we need my invention, technology or solution? Anyway, we are all going to die in a few years. Existence is overrated. I looked it up and it's called Existential Nihilism. Depressing stuff.

This can be because of many reasons, but more importantly, when you go down the abyss of Apathy, it's an exponentially accelerating fall and it's very dangerous. I am still looking for the reason. Why. Or I just need to "do it". Get started with a project. "What project? I don't care".

Lastly, English-Scared. The secret is a good book. It originally came from the writing and philosophy of Nepoleon Hill, the first person to spur the multibillion dollar Motivational business. Read or listen to his talks on Youtube. He had done research. Spoke to the most successful people of his time and in a nut shell: "Believe in what you want to do and visualize it happening. The people I have met had an insane belief in what they wanted and they saw the end result in front of them."
Ramani Aswath
Ramani Aswath · Jul 4, 2012
Rank A1 - PRO
Philosophically speaking, I (whoever that 'I' is) am not here by my choice. There is no obligation for me to achieve anything. I can't be a free loader, so I have to earn my keep. If that is the frame of mind, it does not matter whether you are a king or a cowherd.
I fully agree that contentment is what is most needed. That cannot come from an outside agency (like alcohol).
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Jul 4, 2012
Rank A1 - PRO
xheavenlyx
I have come to understand that the people who think "I am happy, maybe this is what we all do, I can't escape my past so f it" cannot be forced into change. It hurts, to come to know everyone is not the same. Otherwise we would have every person opening a company wanting to lead people into greatness. (Some people are very happy by just being an office boy, difference is, are you happy with what you do? If an office boy is content, he is much better off than a CEO of a large corp. I would appreciate his contentedness.)
That's why I wrote, there has to be strong 'desire' to achieve something. Having a desire to have something does not imply that I'm unhappy with what I have right now. The attitude that helps (from my personal experience) is this: I'm happy and thankful for what I have (the good points) and I'm going to use it as a strength to achieve what I wish to achieve.

That's why a goal is needed: I want to have more time for myself, my family, kids and also make more money could be a goal. If the office boy does not desire to upgrade himself, then he will find his daily, short-lived motivations in day to day life.

xheavenlyx
Then there are people who say, "I realize I am not happy with this, I need to change and I 'want' to change because I want my life to have a meaning, make a difference in people's lives.".

They are the ones who need to be pushed. Mentoring and apprenticeship is something I value a LOT. It's for the kind who are lost but want to find the way.
There comes my second point: It's about the excitement about the envisioned future. You'll always find people who want to achieve something and they're very clear about it. But the excitement factor is missing. If having the thought of 'more time for myself' does not 'excite' you, you won't have the inner motivation to do something about it. You'll keep complaining how your office doesn't give you more time. We're talking about 'action' -> that makes things change. I can't put more stress on excitement factor.

If the thought of being able to play Guitar does not excite me - I will never have the inner desire to put all the effort it takes to learn to play Guitar.

xheavenlyx
For me, it got bad. I did not know what to do. Sometimes I just didn't care. Apathy, is the worst state to be in. What will my success change? Why do we need my invention, technology or solution? Anyway, we are all going to die in a few years. Existence is overrated. I looked it up and it's called Existential Nihilism. Depressing stuff.
Existence is not over-rated. We're here for a reason. Instead of thinking about "What will I take with me when I die?" why not change our thinking to "How much more can I leave for people when I die?". I think that's positive thinking.


The key is to find something that excites us! I continue to stick to CE even during tough times because the thought of having CEans work together on awesome project excites me. That's what makes me wake up a little early in the morning.
xheavenlyx
xheavenlyx · Jul 4, 2012
Rank B1 - LEADER
Yea. Excitement to be content by bringing meaning into the lives of others and more importantly, your own life.
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Aug 3, 2012
Rank A1 - PRO
durga
Personally in my case I think, a long term goal is needed as well. Many of us(including me) feel elated/relaxed after acheiving the shorter goal in the process of achiving longer goal and slack down and the point#1 mentioned fades out.
What I've found out that that a 'long term' goal has to be broader. My professional long term goal is to build an engineering company where engineers would die to work - by providing them with environment, tools, remuneration and liberty they need & deserve. That goal makes me put my action plan and shorter term goals in place.
Abhishek Rawal
Abhishek Rawal · Aug 4, 2012
Rank A2 - PRO
In my opinion,
Motivation, is a fuel to your desire ; Like body needs food. One day without food & you will be exhausted. Same is with motivation, its food to your aim, You have to feed your soul each & every day with motivation.
Its not that motivation don't work for long time, It truly does .. but you gotta feed your soul with motivation everyday.

Another reason why people fail in staying motivated is "Procrastination".
So how does "procrastination" hinders the motivation ? An unspecified goal.
unspecified goal ? what's that ? You might've heard people saying, "I will be rich one day" & "I wanna work in intel". Question arises here is "which day? Today ? tomorrow? or after 15 years ?" . "you wanna work in intel, but which position, when ?" The unspecified goal is failure. Anything that is unclear to your brain is failure.
your brains is unable to work on non-clarified goals hence you fail in your achievements and your motivation drains.
you got to jot the clear plan & aim in one piece of paper .. something like "Today, its 20th january 2014, & hell yeah Troll_So_Hard is balling hard like a Boss". It should be in present tense, anything written in past will remain past ... I will buy lamborghini one day & one day will remain that one day only .. that day wont come, ever.

Plus, when you keep unspecified plans without details, you ought to procrastinate ! How ?
lets say you said ," I will buy seaface bungalow at bandstand, mumbai" .. In this case you havent specified any detail of when ... so you are likely to not haste on accomplishing your quest.
You will be like " I will buy it one day, dude ...I am still 18" & years passes procrastinating, now you are 50 & still you are living in Vile-parle. karma 😛

In short, Motivation (monthly/yearly dose) + unclear goal + procrastination = FAIL goal !
Motivation (daily dose) + clear & specified goal + no procrastination = Success (no matter what)


Very heavy words from a Troll kid ... sorry 😒
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Aug 4, 2012
Rank A1 - PRO
Procrastination figues in only when the 'excitement' factor I mentioned doesn't figure in. People do want to work for Intel - but does that thought 'excite' them enough? I mean, if you 'wish' to work for Intel; do you really 'see yourself' working for Intel in your dreams? Do you really think about Intel when you are in shower? Do you really follow up every news about Intel?

The 'excitement' factor is major! It applies to everything. People don't get excited about things easily. People want to earn more - but is the thought of earning more income 'exciting' enough that the thought doesn't leave your brain when you are watching a movie?

I remember the days I used to sit in office thinking 'one day I will run a business, become an entrepreneur'. The thought was so recurring for almost 3-4 years that it became unbearable and my mind began searching for things. It made me read several books to find out 'how to really do it'. When I found out what I'm going to do - the excitement didn't die. In fact it just doubled! It was the same motivation that made me finish off my office work anyhow by 6 PM and go home only to explore more about running a website and growing a community. It was the same excitement that made me stay up late in the nights exploring how to move a server. In fact, it's the same excitement that makes me get out of bed every morning.

Not many people ever develop (or even desire to develop) such levels of excitement.
Ramani Aswath
Ramani Aswath · Aug 5, 2012
Rank A1 - PRO
Excitement is internal and therefore self actuating. Motivation is largely external. One tries to prove something.

Otherwise, this nursery rhyme results:
quote:
"If wishes were horses
Beggars would ride:
If turnips were watches
I would wear one by my side.
If ifs and ands were pots and pans,
there'd be no need for tinkers' hands"
Endquote

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