Motivation, Persistence, E books and IF!

Again I will wander off topic as I took a look at motivational books from a couple of authors who have been prolifically publishing ebooks over the last year or so. The first ‘motivational’ book that I read and remember is the seminal work by Dale Carnegie “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. Carnegie has a style that many modern motivators try and fail to recreate. His works drip personal experience in a way that is hard to emulate without actually getting out there and speaking to hundreds of people. That easy anecdotal style is picked up by Warren Buffet in his speeches and the motivation comes in part from the feeling of being let in on a private conversation. Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” also has a very catchy title and is packed full of excellence. In fact the arguments are reducible to a core set of values of self-motivation, namely think, set SMART goals and persistence. (SMART =Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-sensitive). Modern thinking tells us that there should be added a second M to the SMART which would be for Meaningful. Meaningful for the goal setter and meaningful in a way that is deeply understood and can be articulated. This is also a message of Hill and Carnegie but is explicated more clearly in modern works. It is this intrinsic drive that causes us to make our vision a reality.
R. L. Adams writes about this in “How Not to Give Up – A Motivational & Inspirational Guide to Goal Setting and Achieving your Dreams”

The author describes the background of the book: each one of us who are living, breathing, and walking on this earth has a set of goals that we harbor deep down inside. These goals were either the product of passive or active goal setting. But what defines and shapes the difference between the person that can go out there and achieve their goals and the ones who throw in the towel and give up at the slightest sign of resistance? This self help book on goal setting illuminates the need for defining your goals the right way.
Adams has crafted a neat motivational piece that combines real life and personal anecdotes with theories. Goal setting, execution and persistence are covered in good detail. Importantly, Adams describes in detail the need to set goals that are intrinsically meaningful and from this perspective to derive the motivation to really go and grab the goal. The ability to get from goal setting to goal attainment remains a matter of persistence and drive. The point becomes that there is a positive cycle of reinforcement between meaningfulness and persistence and the crank handle of this cycle is repetition. Repetition in this sense is the continuous enunciation of the goals by the individual.
It is unfortunately difficult to get past the great works in this field but Adams has managed to consider a niche that is often overlooked. Most motivational texts consider the readers to be people who are already in a decent place in their lives and who want to make them great. Even if the anecdotes in Carnegie and Hill books describe folk who have been in desperate positions my interpretation has always been that the writer considers the reader to be not so. This book by Adams looks at what to do if you are at rock bottom. It draws from his own journey and the journeys of people he knows as well as stories of the now famous, including Jim Carrey and Mark Wahlberg. It describes how the individual’s meaningful goal setting led them to drive themselves to achievement. All of this takes tremendous effort, this is not to be underestimated, but with persistence and personal, intrinsic drive, the author makes the point that it is possible for anyone to achieve what they set out to achieve of SMART goals from any starting point. Of course there is the self fulfilling prophecy in the last sentence that SMART goals have to be achievable, but clearly the idea is sound.
Adams has moved to a new niche with this ebook and it is a sound and interesting piece that is a good complement to any of the greats and indeed probably a good start to learning about the subject of motivation.
As with all education, once one has learned and understood the main theme, it is not always important to carry around the massive text books; these can be substituted with summary works that perform the task of jogging our memories and perhaps coming to a subject from a different angle. Just as turning on a second lamp will reduce the shadows in a room, a second text will remove some of the obfuscation in a subject. Sri Vishwanath tries to do this with “20 Words That Can Change Your Life”.

The point being that certain words have had a profound impact on human thinking. The right understanding of these words can set you free says the author, going on to say that “20 Words that can change your life” is a gentle read. It can massively influence your growth potential. Sri Vishwanath is the author of 13 transformational titles and over quarter million of his books have been downloaded in Amazon in the last 12 months.
I enjoyed the 20 words but did not write a review of this ebook on amazon.com because it was too derivative somehow. There was nothing unique about this ebook that made me want to say anything one way or the other. It is a very nice piece to read and is exactly as the author comments, a gentle read. The words and explanations are nice and work very well with an extant understanding of the subject of self-awareness and motivation. I was therefore happy that I picked this up and read it but it is like a pebble on the beach, nice for a moment and can be eye-catching in the correct light, but ultimately not unique.

My favorite motivation of all time is the poem “IF” by Joseph Rudyard Kipling. This long dead Brit tells a story in a few lines of how it is to grow up and take account of the choices that you make and to push for your dreams. It tells the story of how drive is intrinsic and one does not need to shout everything from the rooftops and it is simply a joy to read. It was written in 1895 by this Nobel Laureate and I copy it in full below because it is an inspiration:

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

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