The Death of Motivational Speakers

Before the plague ends, expect an end to what plagues workers and capital.

Expect people to stop listening to speakers who conflate passion with profundity, intensity with intelligence, enthusiasm with enlightenment.

Expect motivational speakers to go the way of so many televangelists and online preachers, sermonizing to cameras instead of congregants; repenting to millions instead of offering a dollar or dime of recompense; filibustering for time, and wasting ours, instead of using their time to think about their crimes of arrogance, pride, certainty, lust, and greed.

Crimes of injustice, regardless of what our judicial system allows, because it is wrong to abuse workers by requiring them to listen to or repeat nonsense from ministers in T-shirts and jeans—from men without collars or cassocks—who sound like prophets and profit from the sound of their own voices.

Their voices belong more to the cult of Jobs than any verses about Job. Their voices have no trace of doubt, while their lamentations sound even worse than we remember: complaints about people who worry more about acts of service than customer service, about lives of goodness than goods and services, about saving souls than gaining the whole world.

That these speakers have certain rights does not mean we have a responsibility to speak or assemble on their behalf.

On the contrary, we have a duty to shun these speakers—because the gospel of prosperity is an industry, not a paean to thrift and industry.

It is a secular chant with a sectarian melody, exalting the house of the Lord by exulting in mansions of marble and gold.

It is the toothy grin of the confidence artist and the idiocy of the bullshit artist.

It is everything we should hate, in a contest between scrip and the Scriptures, which no amount of money can labor to increase and no abundance of silver can satisfy.

Aware of temptation, and fearful of destruction and perdition, our motivation is clear: to avoid motivational speakers.

About Bill Asher

Bill Asher is a writer and retired executive. He lives with his family in Massachusetts.

Photo: Getty Images

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