What makes shakedown artists, grifters, snake-oil salesmen, preachers and motivational speakers so influential and effective? It is called the Art of Persuasion, which is based on the following.
- First – there is the set up, which refers to highlighting a general problem. For example, lack of success, being overweight, or human suffering.
- Second – there is the bait. This is where the speaker tells a story that says the both of you share a common experience.
- Third – then comes the hook or the emotional appeal. This is done by tying the problem to a realistic or probabilistic solution. For example, poverty gets turned into wealth; obesity becomes a slim and healthy body; and suffering is traded for the promise of eternal life.
- Lastly, there is the sale or conversion or the gotcha. This basically says, “If you follow my lead and do as I tell you, you can experience the success I am experiencing.”
The motivational/inspirational industrial complex is a multi-billion-dollar industry that is built on “one of our greatest human weaknesses, namely, the belief that we can get something for nothing, that we can achieve our goals without any blood, sweat, or tears.”
How long did it take YOU to develop your skill as a professional [occupation]? Two years? Five years? Ten years?
So, what makes anyone think that s/he can attend an hour-long workshop or a weekend seminar and go from good to phenomenal overnight? Because people have literally convinced themselves that proximity to greatness amounts to greatness. These individuals believe that if they get one more dose of the “right” information, their entire reality will improve at the snap of a finger. While motivation is a necessary facet of the human experience, it is insufficiently predictive and lacks the capacity to effect lasting positive change or performance improvement.
The fact is no amount of motivation can get someone out of a self-imposed crisis—at least not immediately. It takes years to develop bad habits. And for someone to make the claim that s/he can simply wave a white piece of cloth or pour “anointing” oil on your head or sell you a motivational audio book and change your behavior in an afternoon is peddling snake oil, a fictional narrative and a worthless bill of goods.
No one becomes overweight overnight. It took many years of poor nutritional and dietary habits to put on the excess weight. No one becomes bankrupt overnight. A long series of poor financial decision-making and planning led to insolvency. Based on that premise, no one is “fixed” overnight either. It takes time to go from living an average existence to an empowering existence.
I have said it before, and I will gladly repeat it again. You DO NOT need permission to be great—period! Let’s say I am a guru, even if I gave you permission, I cannot make you great. My permission does not and will not translate into your greatness. Happiness, success, wealth and abundance cannot be transfused from guru to student.
So, please do me a favor. Stop listening to these snake-oil salespersons—these bottom feeders—who prey on people’s fear, ignorance, apathy and ego. You do NOT need to purchase the latest self-help books or attend motivational seminars or become a member of an eLearning platform or listen to a preacher, or “motivational” guru in order to win.
No person can be “motivated” into success. Building an enduring legacy takes time and there is no way around it! You’re gonna have to WORK your ass off to create the memorable and positive life experiences you want to have for yourself and your community.
Upcoming post: “I Hate the Process!”