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Are These Motivation Secrets Myths?


I read an article in Psychology Today that seems to fly in the face of what so many people have taught, and the things I’ve learned about positive thinking and success called The 3 Biggest Myths About Motivation That Won’t Go Away. In the article, Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D., claims there are three lies that we have learned from big names in the motivational speaking. She states definitively that while they sound good, they are not applicable to you or me. I have to say that I am torn.

Myth #1

Just Write Down Your Goals, and Success is Guaranteed!

This one I can agree with because you must take action on those goals! How many times have you written a New Year resolution only to find it broken before the clock strikes midnight on January 1st? So maybe you resolve to write goals or intentions just to have the same results. That is what happened to me this year. I even bought a pretty purple planner that was supposed to help me, but it is sitting next to my chair at home—mocking me.

My Papaw used to quote the Mother Goose Nursery rhyme, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, if turnips were watches, I’d wear one by my side.”

So how can we turn our wishes into something that can get us to where we want to go?

I believe it is about vision.

Proverbs 29:18 reminds us that without it we will perish. This feels kinda harsh, but as I mentioned the other day. How can you get to where you are going if you cannot see it?

While I was searching for more information on this verse, I came across a sermon written by Michael C. Gaudiosi, who states this scripture and Hosea 4:6 are not about fulfilling our dreams, but it is about keeping the law of God, but here’s the thing. When Jesus came, He fulfilled the law, and when God places a calling on our heart, I believe we are fulfilling His “vision” for our lives because our dreams should now line-up with Him. Of course, this might not always be the case, but it should be.

So what does this have to do with writing down your goals, AKA, vision? We need to have something to refer to, something or someone to follow. Whose heart are you following today?

Myth # 2

Just Try to Do Your Best

How can we define what is best or what is even good? Jesus asked the Rich Young Ruler why he called Him, “Good Teacher” in Luke 18:19. Good is one of those words like the word, nice. There is too much ambiguity.

How do you define “doing your best?”

Myth # 3

Just Visualize Success!

Halvorson states, “few motivational gurus understand that there’s a huge difference between believing you will succeed, and believing you will succeed easily.”

I think of the three myths, as Halvorson calls them, I cannot agree with her on this one. I know firsthand that whatever you focus on expands. If you or I only focus on those things that we cannot do, and we allow the negative thoughts to overwhelm us, we won’t get to where we want to be. I’ve never heard any of these “motivational gurus” as she called them to say, just sit around and wait for your ship to come in. No, but they do say that the way you think plays a huge role in who you are and who you will become. The ones I follow like Zig Ziglar, Tom Hopkins, and Tony Robbins, to name a few, all agree success takes work.

She counters this by saying, “Realistic optimists believe they will succeed, but also believe they have to make success happen—through things like effort, careful planning, persistence, and choosing the right strategies. They don’t shy away from thinking “negative” thoughts, like what obstacles will I face? and how will I deal with them? “

Yes, we may have challenges that we have to face, but we are overcomers!

I believe success is possible, but a large part of the battle starts and ends between our ears. The rest of the fight, focuses on doing the work, applying the skills, and doing things poorly until we get better.

What do you think? Do you have anything to add?

Remember in everything that you do, be unique, be you.

Uniquely Yours,


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