When we think of motivational stories or speakers we think of the things that inspire us.  The memes and quotes and anecdotes which get us fired up or at least make us feel better about our day.  And for most people these are like sparkling stars in the night sky.  They are the exceptions to the rule, the lights in the overwhelming darkness that make everything feel just a little bit better, but don’t illuminate much and aren’t anything we can see to drive by.

But there are other kinds of motivational stories in our lives that serve other purposes or I should say we make up stories about motivations and tell them to ourselves and others.  We do this all the time.  Something happens and it seems odd, we don’t like it, it makes no sense, it does harm, or it makes us uncomfortable and we automatically try to make meaning out of the event.  Some of that meaning is the “Why did they do that?” and if we don’t know off hand we make up a story about it.

I’ve seen this happen over and over again.  I’ve actually seen someone look at a letter or email, read the same thing that I’ve just read, then spin a fabulous story about why they did or said what is on the page that has no basis in the text, has no basis in the person’s previous behavior, nor is it even suggested.  The story has the added feature of ascribing and identity or role to the person being spoken of which they wouldn’t have had before, such as being a gossip or being noble or being a hard worker or being lazy….it’s amazing what we can do with thin air and imagination.

Most people don’t do this to be mean. I am referring to people and not political parties, advertising agencies, or infotainment organizations.  People do this for a great many reasons which boil down to fear and avoidance or avoidance of fear or fear of being avoided….Avoiding the truth is easier than trying to figure out what the truth is.  Making up a story that fits the way you want things to be is easier than dealing with the reality of things and takes way less effort.  Making up a story about someone’s motivation can cover a multitude of sins, which is the classic thing someone being abused does because it’s easier than looking the truth in the eye and dealing with what you see.

Motivational stories aren’t just for inspiration, they are mostly for covering the truth.  The truth that we’re not dealing with today and may not deal with tomorrow.  And over time the motivational stories become the truth…the truth about the teller which is they spin motivational stories instead of dealing with the real.  So today, perhaps you can choose to walk away from motivational stories, good/bad/otherwise, and look at the raw reality instead.  It’s way more beautiful and motivational and inspirational than you might think.