Does your house or office have any of those commercial motivational/inspirational posters on the walls? Slick, vivid color “perfect” images with a nice quote or bland saying to match. For example a photo of “businessman’s hands” with the following:-
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Part of me likes the concept, its just that the products to me seem too slick – I cannot imagine these inspiring or motivating me. The fact that there is now good business selling “demotivational” products says that others prefer humor and honesty! For instance, a photo of the pyramids with:-
“You can do anything you set your mind to when you have vision, determination, and an endless supply of expendable labor.”
What brought this to mind was story in the news about a shop in Beijing selling “spirit bottles” – empty bottles with meaningful (rather than inspirational) sentiments written on them. The best sellers have been “courage for change”, “sense of security”, “great wisdom”, “tolerance” and “unconditional love”.
Apparently sales have increased dramatically since the recent earthquake, leading to some concern that this is exploitation or a confidence trip. I cannot see that, as its quite clear that people know they are buying a bottle, filled with nothing but air, with a fairly simple label – anything but slick!
Management guru Charles Handy was successful at using images and metaphors to translate conceptual ideas into things people could understand and relate to. Since reading a Hungry Spirit I keep a white stone on my desk – as he does. It symbolizes the journey towards self knowledge:-
It means that if I “prevail,” I will, eventually, find out who I truly ought to be, the other hidden self. Life is a search for the white stone. It will be a different one for each of us. Of course, it depends on what is meant by “prevail.” It means, I suspect, passing life’s little tests, until you are free to be fully yourself, which is when you get your white stone.
Its worth reading the full extract, as it doesn’t make a huge amount of sense out of context! But the point here is that a simple white stone – with no writing on – can convey meaning to someone if they have given it a personal meaning at some point.
I’m sure you have heard a piece of music on the radio or television, that for you is linked to some event or person in your life. Just hearing the opening bars can rekindle emotions and images in your mind – good and bad.
When you find a good quote, saying, speech, affirmation – anything that inspires or motivates you – there are many ways of keeping that thought to the fore. I have written about affirmations before, and personally use software to reinforce their message. But you can link anything you want.
For example, you may have the following affirmations:-
I am strong and calm; I am a very confident person. I maintain my self confidence at all times and places. I am totally confident in my capabilities, expertise and know how.
Personally, I wouldn’t put a poster or picture on my office wall with that written on it. But I may create a personal paper weight – a piece of rock, wood, anything – or have a photograph (or screen saver) that I have linked to those three sentences. Create your own positive meanings in the things around you.
photo credits:- top aloshbennett bottom aaronmerrell