“I went to a bookstore and asked saleswoman, “where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me; it would defeat the purpose.” -George Carlin
Okay, we, at Founders Desk, do not much like motivational speakers. We are the ones who sit somewhere in the last seats, behind that pillar, dozing through the motivational speeches we were forced to sit through – and so last thing we want to be thought of as is motivational speakers or self-help kind of people; an impression you might form from some of our blogs here. And also, we don’t believe in a thing just because it is said by a popular person. We don’t blindly go around quoting great people. We quote only because it appeals to our reason or because it is funny.
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Here are some of popular sayings and advice for entrepreneurs both ones coming from great people and ones frequently used by lesser mortals or some self-help kind, which we don’t believe in:
- God will help you if you pray –Ask and you will get it
Let me propose a scenario here: Maternal Morality is not unheard of. Think of an infant whose mother died while giving birth to it. Now the kid is crying for his mother, wishing – you could say praying in best way it can. It has purest heart possible – and you can hardly claim that God is testing the kid or punishing it for crimes of previous births.
This kind of thing must have happened zillions of time since life started. And yet, there is no historical record of a single mother coming back to life. Now if God, assuming such a thing exists, can’t help that kid; you can hardly expect him or her to listen to your prayers. At Founders Desk, we are too arrogant to pray. On shinier side – we can do without God.
- Life is Beautiful
It is not always. In fact, in your humble blogger’s opinion, it often sucks. At times, it is simply dark – it sucked for the kid in the above scenario. And there is no shame in admitting it, far too many people have died pretending all their life to be happy when they were not. As long as you are honest with yourself, you still have a chance of striking happiness somewhere but as soon as you start putting up those masks of fake smiles; your case start becoming hopelessness.
However there is a chance that it can be changed – and you can definitely help. We find that true education is that which teaches us the ability to find something to laugh about, and if there is nothing to be found than to create something to laugh about – and while you are at it, helping other in laughing too.
In an old Akbar-Birbal story, Akbar once promised a reward to anyone who should stand in a pool full of cold water for a whole winter night. When a man, forced by his poverty, took the challenge and accomplished it, the emperor was amazed and couldn’t help asking from where he found such courage. The poor man replied that there was an oil lamp turned-on near the pool and he saw in its flame the promised reward for his suffering and found warmth enough. (the story goes on but we are not here to tell the stories) That; kind of instinct – which makes one look for reasons for happiness; is what we should try to develop.
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Dumbledore in Harry Potter and Prisioner of Azkaban(movie)
- Life isn’t fair, get used to it
It is a famous quote from Bill Gates and is often used by motivational speakers. While we agree with the first part that life isn’t fair; we don’t agree with advice that one should get used to it. In fact, we think that it is because so many people have got used to the idea of life being unfair that it continues to be so.
A person who is used to lack of fairness of life won’t feel moved to help the kid in above scenario – he or she shall think that life is unfair anyway. What we believe is that we need to fight back this ‘unfairness’, but never get used to it; so that if in future we are to get in a position of power we could do something to correct this unfairness for future generations. Think what would have happened if our freedom fighters had got used to the idea of unfairness of life; and stop fighting.
- When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
This came from Paulo Coelho. Actually, universe, my dear, to use the common phrase, doesn’t give a damn. May be a few friends, a few good-natured people will help but whole universe – well, you may as well forget it. Remember the kid in above scenario! There is no wish stronger than that of a child asking for his/her mother, if universe couldn’t help that child, what kind of help can you expect? At Founders Desk, we don’t believe in none of that supernatural stuff.
- You get what you deserve
It is a very stupid thing that I often hear from motivational speakers. Let me put it simply, if there are say twelve players equally deserving to be in a cricket team; even than one of them is not going to make it, to get what he/she deserves. People, who are ill, do not deserve it. The kid in above scenario didn’t deserve it.
People call this kind of philosophy Karma – but actually that is not what Krishna meant when he talked about is principle of Karma. His message was to act without worrying about results. He never promised fair results. As we have agreed that life is still unfair.
There is no sure way of knowing whether or not you will succeed. If that stops you from doing something, than you are doing the wrong thing. Play the game that you can enjoy, results won’t matter so much.
- You are the best person in the world
Sorry, you are not. We have all got defects. It is one thing that should never be forgotten. Motivational speakers will have you go before mirror and tell yourself that you are the best person in the world. Being best leaves no room for improvement –that could be boring.
- What you want to be?
It is a question that has often being asked to children and students. When I was a five year old; I wanted to be spider-man, as you can see, that didn’t go well. Children may want to be a new thing every day and adolescents are confused as well. We don’t blame them – even today I want to be a bartender (Ya! Let us not get into that.)
But we do blame the people who ask such stupid question. We may want to be a number of things –the question is futuristic and confusing; and it can actually bring fatal results by making a kid decide about his/her future at such a young age. I mean a five year old kid doesn’t get to decide what he or she will have in dinner, why ask about the future occupation.
Next time you meet a kid, ask her or him – what they like doing. Kids who love drawing may still want to be batman but they will be happier as painters or architects. A the same time, if you are confused or even if you just love listening things about yourself – give the test at 16personalities.com. It is like horoscopes – only scientific.
- How much money you make?
Most of examples given in case of successful people are of immensely rich people. When we talk about a person’s accomplishment, we often make mistake of talking about her/his earnings and wealth. By that definition, Ambani brothers were most successful people of the country as soon as they joined business! And Van Gogh was least successful – even though he is the most popular painters of all time!
Let me tell you a fact – psychiatric studies in USA tell a very large percentage of top level managers of some of the biggest companies are suffering from clinical depression. Reason? Let us say I’m really, really good with numbers (I said let us say) – I’m so good that I get a job in a really big company, with a really big office, with a lot of salary. I Work for them day in, day out –making big bucks but the thing is I don’t really like working with numbers, what I want is to do is to paint. What will happen next?
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In trying to make big bucks, most people are doing what they are good at, not really what they want to be. And that, my dear, keeps Psychiatrists’ business running. My personal definition of success is being able to do what I really want to do
Now about those depressed managers, you may think that they are depressed because they are overworked. Wrong! They are depressed because they are working. What you need to do is find something that feels like a play. Sachin Tendulkar would relax by doing shadow practice. Fatigue, anyone?
- You are responsible for everything happens to you.
You are not – life is still unfair, remember!
- It’s never too late to be what you might have been.
This one comes from Eliot. Another of those things that you think is true because it sounds so good. Guess what! Truth doesn’t have much of a taste for beauty. Personally, What I might have been is a five year old with a driving license. I think it is too late for that.
- That’s a weakness
There are some qualities that are wrongly considered as weaknesses. Mostly these are the things that make you different – and can in fact, be frequently trump cards. A small list will include introversion, lack of discipline, rebellious nature, daydreaming etc. While extreme of anything is bad, these qualities in themselves are not weaknesses. An article about introversion in particular is soon coming up on our website.
- An effective person never loses sight of his target
They do. Where your destination is far, you may often get distracted – we are still human and life is not a mere race from point A to B. It is okay to break down at times – the happiest lot in the humanity is children and that is because they are not afraid to cry. What is important is to remember to keep getting back on track. It is those who have hardened themselves too much who worry me – I’m afraid they shall find themselves too hardened to enjoy the happiness when they have a chance to.
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- The times will get better
Now you don’t know that! You may hear yourself telling your suffering friend that times will change, good days will come. But let us face it, no one is prophet here. We don’t know the future. Perhaps the times will get worse. Life is not a Disney movie – there are no happy endings or happily-ever-afters guaranteed here. What we do know that by continuing to fight, we will grow stronger – and in there lies our hope.
“What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
Our impression is that a motivational speakers or your friends trying to motivate you succeed by creating a happy illusion, while this illusion might have a good placebo effect and help his audience in dealing with their lives with confidence, that is not the way we think about it – we wish to create an approach based on very grounded truths and so felt need to clarify our stands on these grounds.