Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Glass is too Big

Last week, after a presentation, a gentleman from the audience came up to me and said they had a “motivational speaker” last month. 
Immediately I cringed because it is a term used very loosely, but, I’ll address that notion later. 

He told me the speaker talked about a positive mental attitude and that she saw the glass as half full rather than half empty.  She proceeded to involve the audience and ask this gentleman how he saw the glass, half full or half empty.  He replied, “I agree with George Carlin, he says if there isn’t enough water to fill the glass, then the glass is too big.”

That brought a good laugh from all of us standing around chatting.  However, it was a good point.  I believe the underlying message of this guy and George Carlin is the notion that someone can determine if you are a positive or negative person base on your answer to one silly question is ridiculous.

I must admit, I have heard this many times by such speakers and I just roll my eyes.  However, I am aware that this is simply my viewpoint and if these things make someone feel better or more happy, I am all for them.  I just think happiness, positive mental attitude, success, and so on are way more complex than boiling it down to a glass half filled with water.

On being a motivational speaker, I was introduced to a large group of college students as a “motivational speaker” recently and as I was taking the stage, I flashed back to the “Glass is too big” comment that day.  It made me laugh and put me in a good mood to address this notion of motivational speaking as I approached the podium. 

It turned out to be a surprisingly good attention getter when I suggested that none of us can motivate another person.  We can only motivate ourselves.  On one hand though, we can get to know individuals and listen to find out what motivates them, then provide an environment to help each person reach his/her goals, but to actually motive someone comes from within, not from someone up on a stage.

If you are ever asked if you see the glass as half full or half empty, respond like that gentleman and George Carlin, “I think the glass is too big.”

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