Why E Be Like Say We Dey Beef Motivational Speakers

James Chibor

“Aspire and perspire to acquire all you require to inspire your desire” – Someone somewhere

Their lines are lit. Their rhymes are rhythmic. Their voice is the voice of Cicero. Rags to riches, grass to grace, zero to hero, nothing to something, nonsense to some sense (okay, maybe that was an overstretch), but these stories are everywhere. And the storytellers? They are today’s motivational speakers.

If there ever was a time and place where the need for motivation was at its peak, now is the time and Nigeria is that place. With inflation and unemployment rates battling to touch the sky, bandits and herdsmen competing for who wreaks more havoc, and Boko Haram still lurking in the shadows, the state of the nation is enough to demoralise anybody. Funny enough though, the motivational speakers of this age have been on the receiving end of the boot of public opinion lately; an irony, if you ask me. It’s almost as if nobody has the patience to get motivated anymore. Maybe we’re already at that time when a good number of people have had quite their fill of the repetitive aspire-to-perspire mantra and just can’t take it anymore. All over social media, motivational speakers are becoming the subject of jokes and comedy skits. Seems like the people are getting tired of them, and here’s why:


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Motivational Speakers, Emotions And More Emotions

The 17th child of a polygamous father, he claims he was inspired by his desire to lift his mother, who was his father’s fourth wife from extreme poverty. In his own words, “I became an entrepreneur because of a dream and promise I made to my mother… coincidentally, the dream is free”.

What a story, right? Now, before you get all emo, read that excerpt again, carefully this time. Yeah, you know him, or at least, you should. That is the Invictus Obi story. Ooh, and in case you don’t remember, that was before our MCM, Naija’s own contribution to Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30 in 2016 and an all-round inspiration to the youth, was convicted of internet fraud. A case described as “the largest case of online fraud in US history”. Well, that’s a little beside the point. But that intro sounds too familiar. Humans are emotional beings. This very complex quality lies at the heart of every human endeavour, and is probably the motivational speaker’s most important tool. With carefully-crafted words and great oratorial skills to boot, the motivational speaker aims to pull at your heartstrings, making you feel every pause, every word in a bid to spur you to action – a very effective strategy that has been perfected over time by a master of such craft. Whatever their story or strategy, they typically have the same M.O.: prey on the emo (pun definitely intended). Actually, the issue is not with the play on emotions, the bigger problem is that half the time, there are no practical steps enunciated. So, what you get is just excitement and no content. And there you have the next problem.

From Impractical Steps To Really Dumb Ideas

Case in point: just look at the picture above. Whoever captioned that picture “believe” deserves a really good lashing, or bashing, at least. But such is what is obtainable with today’s brand of motivational speakers. People just say whatever comes to mind in the name of motivating others. The word “believe” has especially suffered at the hands of these guys. Everyone is screaming “believe, believe, believe” and spewing okoto to butter it up. You hear something like, “if you believe in yourself the way I did in myself, you too will make it”. How exactly does that make sense? So, all you did to make your first million was believe? All you had to do become better at what you do was believe? All you did to get this physically fit was believe? No challenges faced? Well, maybe belief conquers all. Clownery.

Absence of Hands-on Experience on the Part of Motivational Speakers

This might look like the other point just discussed, but they aren’t the same. The difference is that the latter is the main reason for the former. Today, everybody wants to be a motivational speaker; everybody wants to inspire people and there lies the problem. People who are not grounded in whatever their field is, are giving tips on achieving greatness in that field. Classic case of “teacher no teach me nonsense”. And since you can’t give what you don’t have, they end up giving very vague instructions that achieve nothing in practice, hence the aspire-to-perspire mantra. Everyone is organising summits and masterclasses to reel out hundred percent proven tips to success. Really makes you wonder how come not everyone is successful yet? What’s more is that these things are not cheap. Wahala.

It’s Always A Screaming Match

This part is generally the most annoying part of the whole motivational speakers’ issue. If you have ever had the good fortune of listening to a motivational speaker’s audio or DVD, then this part will be easily relatable. It gets to a point where you start to wonder if you are just an outlet for someone else’ frustration and this is not an exaggeration. Maybe there’s a thing all that energy does for the recipient. Maybe it makes the message clearer. Or maybe and most likely it’s just one of those professional emotional tools, to get you excited and bouncing. Again, leaving you feeling motivated, yeah just the feeling.

In conclusion, motivational speaking shouldn’t even be a career path. Nobody should just wake up and say “I want to be a motivational speaker”. It makes it a scam in suit and tie. Motivational speaking should be a natural offshoot of years of practice, failures and successes in a particular field. So that when challenged, such people can beat their chests and say “I have done that and I have this to show for it”. This is what makes a man or woman grounded enough to motivate others toeing such path. There are such people around, and the world is grateful for their impact. But sadly, the scams donning the name “motivational speakers” are increasing in number, na why e be like say we dey beef motivational speakers.

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