4 January 2013

Motivation is a nowt but a money spinner

Motivation is a capitalist stratagem.

There I've said it.  I realise that I've just exposed a trillion dollar self help industry with such a statement but I really have had it with the elevation of motivation to big religion status.  It all starts with irritating questions and rises to a crescendo of fevered spending to help you 'achieve your goals'.  And largely it's unnecessary unless we buy into conforming to one view of what a person's life should look like.

It starts with questions such as what motivates you to go to work? stay healthy? exercise?  And goes on to a level of bullshit unseen since the 'reds under the beds' hysteria of fifty years ago.

What motivates you to go to work?
Well money obviously.  But that is not really a motivation is it?  It's kind of necessary if I want to live in a house, feed my family and afford Chardonnay.  So while it might adhere to the strictest definition of the word its not motivation in the way that people say it.  Like, dude, what MOTIVATES you to go to work?  Sigh.  Money.  Obviously if I like the people I work with that helps, and if I enjoy my job that helps.  But if I like people you don't have to pay me to hang out with them and if I don't enjoy my job I still have to feed my family.  You see the hamster wheel of motivation here?

What motivates you to stay healthy?
Well not dying obviously.  Once again, healthy is much cheaper so it reduces my need to work as much so I can afford more Chardonnay, but I am not motivated to be healthy just for the hell of it.  It's just good sense. I want to stay alive to hang out with my lovely husband and children.  But then I have to work more to fund my longevity, so the incentivising effect of good health being cheaper starts to cancel out with funding my retirement Chardonnay supply and the Christmas gifts for the great-grandchildren I'm now going to live to see. You don't see the self help books mentioning this now do you?

What motivates you to exercise?
Well if you've seen me lately you'll guess that I'm not.  What might start me?  Getting fatter means buying new clothes and I hate shopping and I have to work more to fund those new outfits and they dig into the Chardonnay budget and the gifts for those great-grandchildren so this is where the strictest definition motivation as goal oriented actually starts to come into the equation.  I'm motivated by the fact that essentially I'm a lazy lush who despises clothes shopping.  But still - it's not quite the mantra that the exercise gurus are peddling as their advertising slogan is it?

If I want to do something it's generally because I want to do it or I need to do it.  And that's not motivating.  That's just life. It doesn't make it saleable.  It doesn't mean I need to see it in every news article and magazine and feed as part of "Theme January: The New Year Resolution and how money can be made out of people's good intentions."  

Perhaps its my 'leftie leanings', but I'm over the the motivation mantra and giving them my money.  I aim to be a good person, leading a good life and if I'm not the richest or the skinniest, perhaps it'll be okay after all. And I'll definitely have money for Chardonnay.  Now that's motivating.