How Inspirational Quotes Demotivate You

I was doing a little market research the other day. I took the biggest sites in the broadly-defined ‘self-improvement’ sphere and had a look at how people find them.

With the right tools, you can see what keywords folk use to find a certain site.

Each site was unique, with its own brand, personality and target audience.

What struck me how common ‘inspirational quotes’ (or variations) showed up.

In fact one site, that was supposed to be a blog about being successful, only attracted people looking to be motivated in quote form.

If that’s what you’re after, keep walking. I rarely traffic in them, for a very good reason:

Motivational quotes can be amazing. If you deeply immerse yourself in personal development and research psychology, influence, religion, politics, sociology, collective intelligence, history, language, neuroscience…

And so on…

All with the goal of improving yourself, then the right quote can be exactly what you need. An old piece of wisdom suddenly triggers the right epiphany, and you see what you learned (and what it means for you) in whole new ways.

On the other hand…

If you spend all day at an understimulating-yet-strangely-exhausting job, spending your down time on social media or watching YouTube, then motivational quotes aren’t going to cut it.

In fact, they could even harm you.

They create this false sense of inspiration. Inspiration is fantastic – one of the best things ever – if you direct it towards some outcome. If you feel it just to enjoy the buzz, then that replaces your need to do anything.

Sure, you could feel proud of yourself by completing your masters or creating an app.

Or you could read something cool Einstein once said.

If you’re after a neurochemical fix, they do the job. For a while, that is. That’s why some folk spend so much time browsing these quotes – they’re literally addicted to them.

But if you want real inspiration, then you have to work harder.

You have to find a level of clarity and self-honesty that goes further than what you currently have. Yes, yes, I know how marvellously self-aware you are. Even so, you have to go deeper.

Ideas inspire you when they align with your unconscious values. You probably have a sense of some of these values already. We all need more than a ‘sense’, though. What we need is a photorealistic, 3D, special effects model of them.

Find these, study hard, and then see which quotes tickle your fancy.

Not the other way round.

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