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3 min Read
Published September 13, 2017

The Selfish Motivational Speaker

Dear Overwhelmed World, I realize a lot of you are sick of the “motivational” trend out there. It’s not for everyone. It’s repetitive. It’s often cheesy. If you’re really unlucky, it can come across as an after-school special in the 90’s that you were forced to watch DURING class on VHS because your teacher had a hangover thanks to her sad assumptions about the joys of knowledge, and she couldn’t handle another chapter from her burnt out copy of I’m-older-than-you-but forgot-how-to-do-this-thing-you’ll-never-use-edition of Algebra I the next day. Unfortunately, I’m one of those irritating faith in humanity people. Fear not, great pessimist. Humankind also drives me insane.

Is it possible to both love and be incredibly mad at the world at the same time? Of course, people are both sources of infinite joy and infinite chaos. I have done my share of research however, and on the quality versus quantity scale, we’re actually winning as a species. Surprised? Me too. Don’t believe me? Look it up.

First of all, we’re still here. This is a huge win considering the unending waves of war, famine, natural disasters, and “fake news.” Humans: one. Extinction: zero. I’m not saying it’s not coming; I’m just saying it’s not here yet. Three cheers for still breathing and such. We’re working on ways off this planet too (yay science), so in case a giant rock is headed straight for proving me wrong, I’ll hopefully be dead or living on a less harsh version of Mars before it all goes to hell. Either way, the concepts of Space X rule, and I’m smiling for the future even if it goes up in flames.

As a motivational speaker, I’m often asked why people should have positivity “shoved” down their throat.

My first answer is that they should indeed not, but I’m glad they at least have the opportunity to tell me I’m a waste of time. There are many people who don’t see joy as an option unless it’s presented to them from an outside source. It’s a short-sighted, but ultimately understandable way of thinking considering our faults and desired expectations. If your environment dictates chaos (which a great deal of the world does), then your mindset will expect chaos. In my view, motivational content exists in order to present an alternate reality. Belief on the other hand, is up to the source of that reality, the strength of the message itself, and, above all, time spent around the content.

So why overwhelm the world with it? Why put it all over social media, have events that draw in thousands of people, and create videos that reach millions (not me mind you, I’m talking about the Tony Robinszszs of the world). The answer is much simpler than you think I’d imagine. It’s a genuine obsession with the necessity for hope. Hope is not a coating for an outside world. It’s a chemical that has to sink into the fabric of humanity. The only cure is prolonged exposure. So suck it up, buttercup, because my job is far from over.

Motivation is THE frontline countermeasure to natural chaos. Physics says that we are consistently headed towards entropy (disorder), unless change occurs. One of the greatest things about being human is our ability to shift and change based on our thoughts, ideas, and challenges. This is why the presentation of that possibility is so important. We are constantly challenged by fear, and the presentation of hope is merely a glimpse into a better world. It may be merely a glimpse, but that glimpse is nonetheless a seed that deserves the opportunity to grow.

Many may find me mad myself for perpetuating joy in this way. To some it may feel a bit like heavy rain, or, oddly enough, a bit of a bullet storm. Passionate about love as I am, it’s easy to get trigger happy with the thought of connecting with another human being in a way that is real. Thinking there’s a chance your words might resonate with him or her. There’s a selfish high to it I can’t deny. Still, I don’t think my objective is to change anyone, but rather, reveal something within themselves that already exists. Regardless of how rich or poor I am at the end of a performance, it’s a job I will always get behind. You will never find me tired because you can’t really lose at this game. To be in emotional service to others is to be free, at least in my experience. I can’t maintain that freedom at all times because I’m unbearably human. The more I’m aware of my own humanity, the easier it is to be aware for others. It’s a tremendously seductive gift. How could I possibly hate if I see myself in you?

You caught me. My profession is indeed a selfish one. I pursue the joy in others for the sake of my own happiness. So be it. I may as well be selfish in hope and joy. After all, everyone wants to die with a smile on their face. I’m just trying my best to get a head start (on the smiling, not the dying). For all my failures, I will work hard to look on each of you and remember that it is you who have made me blessed. My joy exists because you are here, receptive or not. Your energies are the pearls within the oyster of this world. I will swim through any manner of dark tides to knock upon the door of your soul and give you my version of hope. I do not need the shell to open in order to be grateful for you. I will simply obsess over your capacity to hope, and know that I will see you again in my dreams of your possibilities.

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  • Chris Hendricks


  • Chris Hendricks is a musician, inspirational speaker, and writer in the Raleigh area. All my articles.

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