It is not what you get, it’s what you give
It is not how far, but how well
It is not by power or by might but by the grace of God
The more cynical reader might have already deciphered where I am going with this. The naïve one will think this is another uplifting article, food for the soul. Well I hate to rain on your parade, sweethearts, but this is far from an uplifting article. It is one to bring you crashing back down to earth where you belong.
The bone stuck in my throat is the word ‘it’. I like the word well enough but ‘it’ seems to have become the sole target of the word rapists otherwise known as motivational writers. Let’s have a look at the first example; it is not what you get but what you give. What is not what you get and what is what you give? I know I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and maybe it is Friday and 13th on another parallel world but I just don’t know what ‘it’ is supposed to be. Pose these questions to Mariah Carey for example. What is not what you get and what is it that you give? She’d probably reply “more Grammys and spectacular boners.” Ask a rabid dog if you can get it to understand you and vice versa and it would say “a loving master and rabies”. As for the second example, just don’t tell that to a Kenyan long distance runner who happens to be Masai. If you do, he’d probably shoot an arrow through your jugular and proceed to make tofu rich in your red blood cells.
The bottom line here is that ‘it’ makes no sense and so do the motivational writers who only seem to motivate you to purchase vol. II and then vol. III and then vol. IV of their motivational books only for them to come up with another gig called: The 21st Century Man; How to Excel in the New Millennium. Seeing as your volumes were all written in the last century, it is not the writer’s fault that the world is spinning and evolving. You might have to get this one too and eagerly await the revisions and re-revisions and new volumes so that you can be properly motivated to face the world’s challenges.
Ever wondered why Coco-cola is/was so successful? The founder has never made his ‘secret formula’ public. I guess that’s the point of having a secret formula. The recipe, or whatever it is, was a closely guarded secret. At least this is how the legend goes. In the same vein, no successful individual will ever tell you his secrets (if he has any, other than talent, extreme hard work and a little bit of luck) especially Donald Trump. Can you believe this guy sued someone for calling him a millionaire instead of a billionaire? And you think people like him will write a book titled ‘How to become a billionaire like me’ or ‘The Trump Card.’ Excuse me while I laugh till I’m numb.
Another reason why I’d never read a motivational book is because no successful or powerful person I know or have heard of, maybe with the exception of George Bush Jnr. and Sr., has any idea what a motivational book is. If anything, part of the recipe for success is to stay away from motivational books. Successful people are incredibly smart and resourceful or they were born successful or they rose through the ranks of the Italian mafia or they have a drug smuggling caper going on in South America or they successfully executed a coup in a third world country or they won American Idol and everybody decided they were better actors than singers and won an Oscar to prove it or they married a rich and powerful person who they proceeded to shag to the Pearly Gates, leaving them with everything. The list goes on forever but none of these people know what a motivational book looks like. No sir!
I’m a big fan of lists but these crooks defile the sanctity of lists almost irreparably. Among their asinine lists, the ones that really tick me off are those definitive ones that feature the word ‘the’ as if the list was intrinsically woven into the fabric of reality and is as real and factual as the air we breathe. The Seven Secrets of Financial Freedom. The Reasons Why You Are So Broke. The Six Weapons of Tackling the Demon Called Poverty. Why can’t they say MY seven reasons why bla bla bla? These dumbass and infuriatingly pat titles suggest that they’re only targeted at people desperately clutching at straws.
I realize that in Nigeria now, we have associations, societies and unions of everything you can think of. If there is a profession that has at least one practitioner in say, twenty states, voila, there is going to be an association, society or union of such people. So I guess it cannot upset the workings of our macrocosm if there was an association of Nigerian Motivational Writers and Speakers. I’m vaguely aware I might get sued. If they win the case, as they ought to since they are motivational writers, they’d get, at best, a cheesy apology from yours truly and I will become several times more popular. Maybe I’d write a book. Put a Steve Buscemi lookalike smiling on the cover and I might start like this: You can do anything you set your mind to, except moonwalking forwards and finding a motivational writer who doesn’t think his inane insights (in hardcover) is a fair exchange for your hard earned cash.
P.S. Steven R. Covey and his book; Seven Habits of Highly Effective People are awesome. Old Steve is not a motivational writer and his book is not a motivational book. Notice how he didn’t use the annoying ‘The’? RIP Steve