6 AM on a Sunday morning and the cooing of the Samsung notification bird wakes me up. Fuck, I think, as I peer through the haze of my sleep into the glare of the screen. An old school chum seems to have gone on a Sunday morning jog and decided to announce this fact to all his Whatsapp contacts with the message: “Arise and Shine! Life is too short to spend in slothful slumber! Let’s do something worthwhile!”
Even if I were to agree with the highly questionable philosophy that doing something worthwhile is better than slothful slumber, it was difficult to find something to do at this unearthly hour. Unlike my chum, I hate jogging, and it seemed rather unwise to start the day with an activity I loathed. So I poked my wife, until she stirred irritably and said to her:
“Life is too short to spend in slothful slumber. Let’s do something?”
“What the fuck?” She groaned.
“How direct you are my dear.” I said.”What I said in euphemism, you pronounce in bold, unfettered terms. So let’s do it.”
At which point my wife pushed me firmly enough to roll me off the bed. Being a fairly intelligent man, I understood this as a wife’s way of communicating that she was not interested in doing ‘it’ at this particular moment. So I just lay on the floor and ruminated on the concept of motivational messages.
It seems everybody these days is busy sending motivational messages to everybody else. From the US president to the local pimp, everyone is doing it (not that I have received any motivational message from any pimp, I just assume that pimps send such messages too). No social media platform, be it Facebook, Whatsapp or Twitter is free from this plague. But why exactly do people want to motivate other people?
I mean, the way human beings are manufactured, we’re highly self-centred creatures. We mostly think of ourselves and our own needs. For instance, when we wish to defecate, we just sit over the nearest commode and do it. We don’t invite all our friends and acquaintances to do it together. Similarly, when our hormones rage inside us and get us all heated up for sex, we simply reach out to our partners and do it. We do not invite the neighbourhood couples over to an orgy. So why is it that when we feel the desire to be motivated, we immediately wish to share the desire with everyone we know?
Also, if some quote motivates you to achieve your goals, why should you share the secret with someone else? Life is a rat race, a struggle for survival, a Darwinian crow eat crow world where only the fittest will survive and get to the end of the rainbow to find the Ferrari and the pneumatic blonde waiting for him (or the Ferrari and the Greek God hunk waiting for her – feminists, don’t get your panties in a bunch). Some colleague sent me this message the other day:
“Life always offers you a second chance. It is called tomorrow.”
Now why share this extraordinarily important insight with me? Maybe, right now I’m feeling so low and defeated with life that I might have given up all hope and am packing a sparse bag to retire to a quiet monastery in Tibet, leaving you without competition to secure that promotion that you’ve been desiring for so long. But now that you’ve given me hope that tomorrow might give me a fresh chance at kicking your ass, I might just decide to stay and snatch away that promotion from you! Daft, isn’t it?
Also, this motivational stuff usually messes up with my brain rather than helping me do things. Here I am, having a lark doing something I thoroughly enjoy when this message comes on my Whatsapp:
“Time can be your Best Friend or your Worst Enemy depending on whether you Use it or Waste it”
And now I start thinking whether I’m wasting my time by doing something that I merely enjoy when I could use that time by doing something that could earn me more money. After a lot of careful deliberation, I convince myself that doing things that make you happy is actually a use of time, but the whole process has taken away the spontaneity of my actions and forced me to find a logical reason for doing something I love. And that has destroyed the purity of my enjoyment, and I find that I no longer enjoy doing that thing so much. That fucking motivational message has poisoned my happiness.
This I feel is the biggest problem with motivational messages. If you take them seriously, and try to follow them, you find that your life has been robbed of its spontaneity, and you have become a mere algorithm following automaton running on the diesel inside your pipes rather than an organic creature thriving on the vital juices inside your veins and glands.
Most of these motivational messages are hogwash anyway. Sample this:
Why Complicate Life?
- Missing somebody?………….Call
- Wanna be understood?……Explain
- Have Questions?…………….Ask
- Don’t like something?……..Say it
- Like Something?…………….State it
- Love Someone?……………..Tell it
Absolute rubbish, each one them. Let me show you.
You may be missing your ex very badly and every evening you try to reconcile yourself to the fact that she’s now copulating with some other man by drinking cheap whiskey (because if you could afford expensive whiskey, she wouldn’t have left you in the first place). One day, you happen to come across this motivational message on Facebook and decide to act on it. You call her. She cuts you off. You call her again. She cuts you off again. You keep calling her till she tells you to go to hell. But you’ve been so motivated that you persist. Net result? She either files a case of stalking against you, or her husband turns up with a few of his buddies and kicks your ass in the bar. Or the police kicks your ass behind bars.
“Have questions? Ask”, advices the quote. Bad idea. Especially in medical college. Where, if you ask too many questions to your professor, you will in all probability be detained for six months beyond the time you’re supposed to have passed out, just so that you can get the opportunity to tone down your over smartness a bit. Also, never ask your wife why she wants to buy such an expensive watch as gift to her father on his birthday. Just grin and bear.
“Don’t like something? Say it” – just try this with your wife’s cooking and you will not only wish that you were not born, but that the Big Bang itself should never have happened. Also, start believing in life after death, because you’d have absolutely no chance of copulating in this lifetime.
As for “Like something, state it” – just think of how many times you’ve had occasion to take a liking to a woman’s …err…eyes, and just think of what might’ve happened if you had heeded this advice and let the fact known to the possessor of those…err…eyes.
I think the main reason why people send motivational messages to each other is to remind others of their own existence. Each man is an island in the ocean of life’s misery, and the only way he can communicate with others is by throwing out a bottle with a message in it. And since most people are not really creative enough to actually be able to say anything much, they just take up a quote from the internet and send it across to other human beings. But the real purpose of these motivational messages is not to motivate. The real purpose is to say:
“Hey there guys! I’m alive, and lonely, and miserable. Please notice me you buggers!”
PS: If you still wish to send me a motivational message, I suggest that rather than sending me some random quote, send me an eyeful of the big, beautiful err…eyes of any voluptuous woman. I assure you, I would be far more motivated and kindly disposed towards you. Eyes like the one below, for example.