Stop Mocking “Motivational Bullshit”
Yesterday I found myself exposed to something sick and twisted.
I’m not sure if you watch youtube, or have been following the “daddy of five” debacle.
But basically, this very low class couple (think honey boo-boo) got into hot water for making money off a channel where they play “pranks” on their kids.
Now you might be thinking, “so what, all fun and games.”
Except this isn’t your garden variety sort of prank where you dress up like something bizarre, scare the kid, and then give him some love afterwords.
This was an *extreme* kind of “pranking,” where you accuse a kid of doing something he didn’t do, steal and destroy his stuff, scream and threaten him until he cries, and then laugh at him while he’s emotionally broken… all on camera for the world to see.
And if he complains?
You make fun of him some more.
“Grow up, it’s just a prank.”
What was particularly bad was how the runt of the family, Cody, a little kid with glasses, seemed to be the main recipient of the abuse. Even his siblings seemed to realize the more their brother cried, the more “entertaining” the show was. So they piled on.
Suffice to say it was disgusting, and while I am as free speech as it gets, I couldn’t be happier the channel has closed and the youngest children (including Cody) have been taken away and sent to their biological mother.
But the real tragedy is, those kids, particularly Cody, are going to have some long term emotional damage as a result of it all.
They are probably going to have to undergo some major deprogramming if they want to be alright.
Whether its self-esteem, anger issues, anxiety or what have you… the odds are high they’re going to struggle based on their ingrained beliefs.
And chances are, these beliefs are not going to change overnight.
The Conscious Mind Is The Rider, The Subconscious Is The Horse
We live in an impatient culture and it’s tough for people to accept. But when you decide you want to change, you must understand: you have merely taken the first step.
The conscious mind may want want you to go somewhere, but the subconscious is the one that actually moves you towards it. If your subconscious isn’t onboard, it doesn’t matter what you “want” to do, what you think you’re supposed to do, what you know you have to do… you’re just not going to get there.
In order to move forward you must tame the subconscious.
And to do that takes time, focus, and dedication.
Like training a mustang, your conscious mind must be ridiculously strong and on point if it has any hopes of not being thrown — especially in the beginning. More likely, the conscious mind will say “do this” and the subconscious will run roughshod over it. It will laugh while the conscious mind struggles to get anything it wants.
(Read: How To Get Rid Of Bad Habits)
Like a horse that is used to doing its own things, the subconscious has patterns of behavior it prefers to follow.
In absence of some life altering event (and rarely even then), changing those patterns is not an overnight process.
Nor is it easy. In fact, sometimes it’s downright fucking discouraging.
Which is why all of the “motivational bullshit” that gets so much flack actually matters — and why people who have already achieved alignment and “escape velocity” should stop crapping on it… and the people who get benefit out of it.
The Truth About “Motivational Bullshit”
Most of my life I have been a political junkie. Like a drug addict that takes his poisonous soma for a fix, political junkies get off on the ego boost of “knowing more” and the emotional spike of righteous outrage. By deceiving themselves into thinking simply having an opinion means they are actually fighting for something, they get both validation and the illusion of meaning.
Of course, none of this is true. Except for those actually playing the game for power, following politics is little more than low-consciousness escapism. Take a step back and consider how much of a pawn you are for caring about the intrigues of corporations and oligarchs who don’t give a shit about you and invariably want to control you.
Yet despite knowing this, do you think I never indulge? That I never get indignant?
I have 15 years of programming telling me to care about politics. I understand there are going to be relapses when I’m stressed. The process of unplugging will inevitably be fits and starts, not smooth sailing.
The fact is I “knew” it was a bad habit at least a year ago. But unfollowing or muting everybody who spent their time spewing outrage even if I liked them and their message was not an easy decision. It was like dumping the alcohol you’d invested in down the drain when you’re trying to go cold turkey.
Maybe for some people that’s not the case. Maybe some people learn they have to do something and they immediately make the switch.
But not most people.
Most people need time to deprogram.
They need to experience the pain of their choices consciously to realize how bad their current trajectory is. They need the consequences of ignoring their conscience to train them. They need to experience disappointment, they need to fall short for weeks, months, years until they finally say enough is enough and kick the habit.
And guess what?
All that “motivational bullshit” helps.
It helps when guys spend years self-sabotaging and they’re so frustrated they fucking hate themselves but still don’t want to give up. It helps to redirect guys’ attention from vice to virtue. I listen to Jocko Willink and others for a reason: They help me to reinforce the values I want to instill in myself. In the long-game, they are helping me to reprogram my brain.
“Motivational bullshit” may not be equal to action, but it is not a waste.
The truth is as an outsider you have no clue how deep people’s limiting beliefs might go. I see it every week with my coaching. Many guys haven’t even addressed any of the dark, self-destructive stuff wrecking havoc on their behavior before they come in to work with me.
Fixing your beliefs takes time, because change is not just about realization but reinforcement.
(Read: Stop Lying To Yourself)
It’s no coincidence that the real thanks from my clients months after we work together, because that’s how long it takes for the “shifts” to make themselves apparent.
So while action is obviously ideal, if all you can bring yourself to do right now is watch shit that tells you to live a better life, that makes you more aware, who am I to judge? And why would I?
You’re taking the slow path, but you’re still on your way there.
What You Seek, You Consume; What You Consume, You Become
In 2009 I shelled out a hefty sum. I can’t remember exactly how much, but at least a couple of hundred dollars. It was on a DVD set called “Man Transformation” — the apex of “Pick Up Guru” David DeAngelo’s work (later he would direct his attention towards increasingly scammy business and success products under his real name, Eben Pagan).
But despite the price tag this course was nothing short of revolutionary.
At the time when I bought the product, I was depressed. I was about 9 months out of my first serious relationship but still attached — I was even harboring hopes that I could get things going again. I had been putting myself out there with other women, but I wasn’t getting very much success. I was looking for a different way of thinking and this looked like the ticket to rewire my brain.
Yet when the package arrived in early January, my living situation wasn’t so good. Rats had infested my apartment over winter break and had literally shit all over my entire room (including under my bed covers). Even after I cleaned it all up, it took almost a week until the exterminator came. During that gap I could look across the room and see rats on the other end, and when I went to bed I could hear them screeching and crawling in the ceiling a mere half inch of drywall away from my head.
I spent little time sleeping that week. I mostly just sat on my bed, wary, binge watching those videos for hours on end.
I wasn’t taking action — at least not yet — but I went from seeking quality information to consuming it. And gradually as I consumed more and more of that good stuff my beliefs began to shift.
Which presented me with a dilemma.
The person I now identified with was not the person that I was. All of a sudden I went from a lost boy to a hypocrite. I could no longer claim ignorance. I had fallen under cognitive dissonance.
Which was a gift.
Because cognitive dissonance demands reconciliation.
(Read: The Good Side Of Shame)
Now I knew if I wanted to change I needed to take action. So I did it. Sure, I procrastinated at times, and at first the action only came out in drops. But eventually these drops grew into a cascade, until my entire default behavior changed.
Action wasn’t instantaneous, but the more I reinforced my values by consuming “motivational bullshit,” the more they started to come.
Sometimes You Want It But You Don’t Know Why You Won’t Do It
Some of you reading this might think this is all just a bunch of excuses. “Just do it, man.”
Sure, in theory, that would be a great approach. Lets create world peace while were at it. Do you think I would have liked to spin my wheels for a few years instead of going warp speed?
But more often than not, going from 0 to 180 mentally is simply not possible.
Some people simply don’t have the level of discipline to tame the wild subconscious in one go. Others are not fully onboard with what they want yet. For most, it’s a slow process of turning the ship around.
In the meantime these people will be seeking, consuming, and building up their new beliefs. They are just not ready yet to take massive action.
I am not encouraging this, but this is reality. Most people need to play a long game to change. And the “motivational bullshit” does a lot to get them there.
For example, I’ve known lifting was good for me for years, but I did it inconsistently if at all. For three years I had an awesome trainer but I relied on him to keep me accountable. Many weeks my 45 minute session with him was the only workout I had.
Bullshit excuse? No doubt, and that’s your prerogative to say — I won’t even debate it. I am just stating a fact. Dumb or not, only last year did I finally start to align with the philosophy of working out. And even then I still went through periods of remission.
Now I work out for an hour 4-6 times a week and get upset when my body is sore and needs a day off.
This cycle repeats with anything I want to change. I knew porn was a bad habit for the last two years. Regardless, the first 1.5 of those years saw practically zero success in curbing my impulse. Finally, I started to experience some progress, but I was still relapsing.
And then I went half a year watching none at all.
And though I relapsed again, I’ll do even better next time.
All thanks to persistence and “motivational bullshit” for keeping me on track.
Disagree? My story is more common than uncommon. So keep an open mind.
Action is the real difference-maker in life. We have no argument there. Until that happens no external changes will occur.
But in order for external changes to occur, the internal ones have to already be made. Those hours cooking in the kitchen with Jim Rohn in the background or those walks with the Gary Vee Podcast in your ear are forgivable indulgences because it is impossible to listen to them for years and not eventually take action.
High quality consumption might not be the fastest way out of the woods, but so long as you stay on the path you will get out.
Because once you feel like you need to change — and I mean really feel — you have already summoned its manifestation. Your process of transformation has begun. There is no going back.
The only question is when, not if.
Yes, this article itself is motivational bullshit.
But I’m serious about it. Don’t give up.
You’ll get there, because you will find the resources you need, and you will take the action you require.
And if you want help? Consider working with men.
I offer coaching programs for guys who “know” but can’t seem to get over the hump. If you are looking for a coach and mentor, someone who is neither going to judge you nor accept mediocrity from you, we might be a good fit.
Shoot me an email at email@example.com telling me a bit about your situation (everything is confidential) or fill out an application here.
Even if you’ll get there eventually on your own, nothing is worse than wasted time. Don’t spend years struggle with something that could take months.