Attitude is not everything and motivation does not work

I am absolutely positive of the fact that attitude is not everything and motivation does not work.

“What? How can you say that? You lie! You are a bad man! I buy books by motivational speakers all the time! I go to hear motivational speakers whenever I get a chance. I listen to motivational tapes and am the biggest and best customer of that material! So what do you mean attitude isn’t everything and motivation doesn’t work?” Well, let me prove it to you. If you are the kind of person you say you are, listening to motivational speakers and reading motivational self-help books, then answer these questions: How is your life? Are you rich, happy, healthy, and successful? No? Well there you go, that stuff doesn’t really work, does it? (Ohh, if you really are rich, happy, healthy, and successful, then congratulations. But I promise you motivation is not what got you there.) Don’t you just hate that? You are caught. Don’t feel bad. I have read tons of motivational, self-help books. I have also listened to as many motivational self-help CDs. They all say those things about feeling good about yourself and how you have to be positive every waking moment. I have listened to them tell the masses to just have a good attitude and anything will be possible. I would sit on the edge of my seat and eat it up until I would nearly swoon with the idea that if only I had the right attitude, my life would be okay.

Listen, I have had a good positive attitude all my life and I have had more crap happen to me than you can imagine! So regardless of what any of the books, CDs, and speakers say, attitude is not everything. I know that is a lot to swallow since it flies in the face of what everyone else says and everything you have ever heard. Like you, I have seen books out there telling you attitude is everything. You can find coasters and T-shirts and even buy a cute little rock to use as a paperweight that says, “Attitude is Everything.” You can even get little coins to carry in your pocket to remind you of the same sentiment. You can buy posters for your walls. It makes the suckers feel better and lines the pockets of the manufacturers. And it’s still a lie because attitude is not everything!

Attitude is important

Attitude is important; I will give you that. But it will not keep anything from happening to you. It will help you deal with what happens to you, but it will not keep anything from happening to you. So while it is important, it certainly is not everything. Attitude is only one thing. What people sometimes think is if they get their attitude right then they will have no problems, they will have nothing bad happen to them, and they will not even have to work … simply because their attitude is so good. Attitude alone will not change things. Effort changes things. Thoughts change things. Words change things. Again, remember this: It is what you think about, talk about, and do something about that comes about. That is what changes things: the combination of those three things. It is not what you have a positive attitude about! It takes more than being positive, because you can be positively lazy. You can be positively wrong. You can be positively stupid.

Have a negative attitude sometimes

Sometimes I have a crappy attitude. I mean it is totally negative. How about you? I gladly admit I am very negative sometimes. I have days where I am anything but positive. I need days like that. You need those days, too. “But that doesn’t make any sense. Why would I need to be negative? Why would you need a negative attitude?” Being negative serves me well. I think it will serve you well, too. Some days you need to get ticked off at yourself, get mad at the way things are going and mad at yourself for being the kind of person you are. Mad at the way you are raising your kids, mad at the way you are behaving with your spouse, mad at the way you are running your business. Anger and a bad attitude are sometimes great motivators. Sometimes you have to get upset in order to change things. In order to make positive changes in your life, you first have to get negative about your life.

It is not about being positive or negative; it is about what works and what does not work. It is about what moves you from where you are to someplace else. It is about what makes things better for you.

It is like those people who ask that old, stupid question: Is the glass half empty or half full? My answer? Who the hell cares? What difference does it make if the glass is half full or half empty?

Here is the real issue. Does it quench your thirst? That is what matters. Attitude alone will not quench your thirst. It will not move you from where you are to someplace else!!!


  1. Hey Nut,
    Self help and motivational books and speakers are not suppose to change your life, make you rich, or even ensure that only good things will happen to you. These things are merely a guide to encourage you to be more positive and cope with everday life and stresses.

    • You are right, amongst changing your life, making you rich, or even ensuring that only good things will happen to you. Most people just need that guide, as you've said.
      This post came as a "Article Reference" from Shut Up Stop Whining and Get a Life by Larry Winget. Pretty awesome book.
      Thanks for stopping by Jonah and hopefully we'll see you around more!

      My recent post Corporate America Destroys Passion

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