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3 Undeniable Things A Motivational Speaker Can’t Give You (Even If They Claim They Can)

picture of man in a suit giving a motivational speech

Every century in human history has its trends. As well as its scumbags who will deceive, exaggerate and give you false hope.

In the 21st century the trend we’re seeing is motivational speakers. The kind who are so charismatic on stage they can hype you up as if they gave you a dose of heroine.

Or even motivational speakers online who can get you excited with words as if the words themselves are giving you a strip tease.


Are motivational speakers bad?

I compare it to food. Food is good if you’re eating the right kind. But If it’s from Mcdonalds than it’s bad by default.

Motivational speakers play an important role, assuming the message is genuine. But the real danger is becoming addicted to it.

In 2018 we’re so addicted to motivational speeches that we’d be smoking it like a cigarette if it we could hold it.

When you become so obsessed with the idea that some motivational speech will finally give you what you’ve been looking for… And you start believing the reason you’re hesitating to go after what you want is because you don’t have enough motivation… that’s a fucking problem.

Because as the quote below says:

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

But even Zig Ziglar only told you half the story. Or less than half.

Let’s talk about that.


3 Crucial Things Motivational Speakers Can’t Give You:


1. The Ability To Take Action

baseball player trying to catch the ball

We can blame most of this on schools and the broken education system. I was taught to sit still, shut my mouth, and not to say a damn thing. As were billions of other people.

But nowa’days we have motivational speakers who add more fuel to that fire.

They tell you:

  • The “theory” of how things work, no different to school teachers.
  • But the “theory” is useless if you don’t know how to use it.

Knowledge is power… IF you use it. But what if you don’t know what to do with it?

That’s the problem in the 21st century. Too much fucking information and not enough people who know how to use it.

Motivational speakers are part of the problem.

Instead of giving you practical advice or sharing a practical story, they razz you up, use buzzwords, and vomit a bunch of theoretical bullshit that goes over your head (pun intended).

So it’s no wonder 100 people can leave a seminar feeling pumped, only to do nothing with the information after the fact. Only to then criticize the motivational speaker (or the book) as to why nothing worked as promised.


2. Grit

A praying mantis can sit for hours and hours, even days to catch its prey off guard.

And all for what? To satisfy its hunger of course. It’s all in the name of survival.

mantis on top of leaf

That’s what grit is about. Going through the long, excruciating journey of being patient and persistent to get what you want.

Jim Rohn says there are two pains in life:

  • The pain of regret.
  • The pain of discipline.

Motivational speakers can tell you how the pain of regret is worth avoiding. In fact anybody can, because it’s common sense. We’re not stupid.

But a motivational speaker can’t give you the ability to handle the pain of discipline.

Or how to develop enough grit to push through the bullshit until you reach the other side where the grass is cleaner.

Grit is something you have to figure out on your own. How? By making hard decisions.

My supervisor told me to fuck off (basically) and I got fired because of false rumors and discrimination.

I made the decision to fix my circumstances by changing the way I behave, think and live my life.

It’s these types of decisions that build Grit, and no amount of motivational videos or speakers can give that to you.


3. Self Esteem

I thought I was ugly. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I had pictures of myself that I destroyed out of self hatred.

If there was a self esteem supermarket I could have shopped at, It wouldn’t have mattered in the end anyway.

You know why? No matter what somebody else tells you or sells you, it doesn’t change your self esteem.

It’s called SELF esteem for a reason. Nobody can give it to you.

  • You can’t buy self esteem.
  • You can’t loan self esteem.
  • You can’t “wish” for self esteem.
  • And nobody can sell it to you either (If they do, they’re scam artists).

A motivational speaker or even your best friend can teach you how to build your self esteem. But they can’t GIVE it to you, no matter what they tell you.

But that’s the problem.

People are too busy looking for someone to give them a little self esteem. And on the outside looking in, the cure is dressed up as a motivational speech. In the form of a video, a self help book, or a live seminar.

But that’s stupid.

You can’t receive something you already have. It starts with you and ends with you. Everything else is a lie.

Decide to feel good about yourself, and do things that make you feel good. And self esteem will hug you, kiss you, love you and bring you happiness.


  1. Great points Theo!

    My view is that people who attend Motivation speaks/conferences fall into two buckets. On one hand you have the people who think attending is the magic bullet / the secret to success. They ultimately walk away feeling empowered for the next 2-3 days but achieve nothing.

    On the other hand you have the people who recognise that these events are all about learning tools, processes and strategies to adopt in their life, while recognising that it is still up to them to put things into practice.

    It is these people who ultimately succeed. In particular I always get pumped listening to a few TED talk/ motivational videos.


    • Thank you Paul for breaking down the differences. That’s exactly the point and I completely agree with you. I guess the keyword here is “discipline”.


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