Friday, January 26, 2007

Half-Ass Motivation

This is a long post and as I am usually pretty brief with this blogging thing, I have failed to modify the CSS so I can hide the long winded part. It is now on the to-do list.

I attended the Peter Lowe "Get Motivated" seminar at the Philips arena in Atlanta last Thursday. I left at noon so I guess I only got half-assed motivated. If you have never been to one of these events, try to picture a Nuremberg rally for unbridled optimistic capitalism. Now, I am not invoking Godwin's law here by comparing any of the presenters to Hitler nor any of the attendees to Nazis so please don't get me wrong. I am referring only to the size and pageantry of the event, the enthusiasm of the speakers and the fanatical devotion of the attendees. I couldn't help but think of Triumph of the Will by Leni Riefenstahl. If you, dear reader, feel offended by this comparison, I apologize but my frame of reference for large public rallies is somewhat limited as I have always stayed far away from crowded events - unless the Ramones were playing. I miss the Ramones.

I caught the Marta train from the North Springs station so I would not have to participate in the shitstorm we call gridlock that accompanies every large event occurring during the working week in downtown Atlanta. I don't know why more folks didn't catch the train. It wasn't the least bit crowded and there is a station right there at Philips Arena. Marta stories are usually way cooler than traffic stories too but this ride was mercifully uneventful.

Michael Eisner was the first speaker. He had a cool slide show and his talk was very informative and interesting. He praised effective micro management - which is something very few execs have the balls to do - and had great advice about managing creative people and focusing on the minute details of a project in order to make it stand out from the competition. Eisner has a pretty controversial approach to management and he has a lot of very vocal critics but if any were in attendance I didn't hear them over the applause and loud music as he left the podium.

The second speaker was Zig Ziglar. Words fail me here. I will try to write about this later.

Up next - and I could not believe this. He must have had an early tee-time somewhere - Rudy Giuliani. I expected that he would be one of the carrots they use to keep everyone in the building while the hucksters lesser-known motivational speakers peddled their books, tapes and software. And here he was under the spotlights before 11:00 a.m. Ernest Hemingway once said that "Courage is grace under pressure" and I only drag out the entire quote because some people think that is was Geddy Lee.

Anyway, when it comes to living examples of grace under pressure, Giuliani comes to mind because of his handling of the September 11th attacks. I can't imagine anyone doing a better job under those circumstances. Now this is a guy who had a lot of very vocal critics before that day and they are damned hard to find now. Politics aside, He is a very good speaker and has a firm grasp on what Americans (and not just his fellow republicans) want to hear about leadership during these interesting times. I pity the person who has to run against him for any future political position he happens to want. I am not endorsing him, mind you, just stating the obvious. People will always remember The Rudy Giulliani who held New York together in a time of extreme fear and confusion and they will remember how crime decreased dramatically under his watch far longer than they will remember his art criticism or where he dumped his garbage.

The guy who followed Giulliani was selling a get rich relatively quick in the stock market plan. I left during his spiel for lunch. The only big names left on the bill were Larry King (via satellite), John Smoltz and Colin Powell - who once got a little pissed at me because I didn't have a single can of Pledge furniture polish in the entire bookstore. That story can wait for some other time too.

I wasn't up to going back inside the filled- to-capacity arena so I took the train out of the enthusiasm and went back to work. I hate rabid throngs of my countrymen and have a low tolerance for motivation it seems. Who knew, eh?


bAmF said...


First, a question.

What the HELL were you doing at a motivational seminar? Didn't we learn you better than that? Besides, when I think of motivated people, you actually spring to mind as my favorite for the #3 position. Numbers 1 & 2 will always be occupied by Brother Jed and Sister Cindy.

Anyhow, I feel for you on the Zig Ziglar part, but I do feel that he deserves time on BSOTD, so get to posting! Zig came through Orlando several times when I lived there, and his speaking venue of choice was the Tupperware Convention Center, where I happened to be the house lighting guy. Indeed, I waas forc... ehhh, had the opportunity to sit through multiple shows each time he came to town, so I feel your pain.

Oh yeah- I have to agree with you on another point- Ramones.
One of the most motivational nights of my life included homemade chili, grape soda, the Ramones, Saccharine Trust and Black Flag. Long live the Ramones.

9:45 AM  
Olaf said...

So Doctorate of Motivation would not be your particular honorary title given by the Universal Life Church.

1:27 PM  

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