Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Art of Demotivation


The 'Art of Demotivation' is a concept promoted by despair.com. They do a great take on those posters that hang on the walls of training centres, that are designed to 'pump' you full of enthusiasm and make you think that scaling Mount Everest is just a walk in the park if you are simply motivated enough. Despair.com claim to espouse the dangerous and disruptive ideas promoted by these courses through a tongue-in-cheek critique of the motivational industry (which is worth millions of dollars/pounds). Their posters are a hefty dose of reality to balance all the motivational courses out there that leave you pumped up, raring to go, and inevitably disappointed when placed back into a cynical real world outside the confines of the padded training room. Their premise is that motivation can be dangerous and can actually result in decreased enthusiasm IF your expectations are not met. And there is the rub. Often reality and everyday demands get in the way.

I find their posters, ironically motivating. They give me something to kick against when I want things to be better than they claim they can be, and they provide humour when they reflect what is going on. Rather like a Dilbert cartoon. I work in a very pressurised environment at times, where results are expected and if a senior manager shouts jump, we are expected to guess how high and then exceed it. I am sure you know what I mean. I work at my best under pressure, that is when I can shine like a diamond, but sometimes when it gets too much, we can all become a basket case. So, there is more truth in these demotivational slogans than just a quick laugh, and that of course is why they are funny.

24 comments:

Smiler said...

Love it! That poster gave me quite a chuckle this morning. And yes, I agree that the motivational industry can sometimes be a bit overwhelming with it's overly cheerful optimism. I saw Office Space again recently and I imagine all too well the kind of managerial attitude you speak of. Michele sent me here today, have a good day!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

The one at the top of your post is a really good one.
And I love the name. "despair.com"....LOL Therre is something very funny about that in itsef....(It reminded me that years and YEARS Ago, I had this idea for a Soap Opera for TV and I wanted to call it "Ebdless Sorrow"....LOL, LOL!
To me the biggest Hoax---the one that kind of started that ball rolling all those many years ago was Werner Erhardts Groups....(It's funny, the name just slipped right out of my mind....lol)
It was in the 70's and EVERYBODY was doing it! Damn...I hope you know the one I mean....Well, it will come back to me, I'm sure....Anyway....Everything started with that one and went on from there....I know it certainly helped some people, at least for a short time, but it was so Regimented and it was like a CULT!

I work well under pressure, too...but at a certain point, like you, it can really break one down if it becomes too much pressure. I am sorry that you experience that in your job at times.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

EST! That was the name of it! Thank God for Google....lol!

colleen said...

A very interesting twist. They definitely make you think deeper. Nothing like a little reverse psychology? Thanks for turning us on to these. Michele would like them too.

"Nothing happens without a little friction." I'm sure I have that line in a poem somewhere.

kenju said...

AMEN! I love that poster and it is so true, really.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'm with you. I like having something to push against.

R. Sherman said...

Unfortunately, "senior managers" tend to rely upon those who get the job done, leaving the less skilled kicking back and enjoying a brandy and internet porn while everyone else is working. They say, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease," but alas, so do the hard workers: in form of more work and pressure.

Cheers.

rashbre said...

Yes. Too true. I differentiate between stretch, which is good and challenging/motivating etc. And stress, which is not.

I've not heard of dispair.com, but will check it out, although I also usually carry a can of 'anti-neg spray' as a way to combat the lower moments.

Smiles, as always.
rashbre

BreadBox said...

I love these posters too, and find them a refreshing change from the "motivational" pablum you see on the normal ones!

It's been a while -- hope things are going better with you!
Michele reminded me to visit,
N.

Shephard said...

Oh, I agree. They make me laugh. And I'd never seen this one! lol

~S

Sarch said...

This is why I love coming here Bobkat. There is absolutely no telling what will be here to greet you when you visit.

What a great post, and so true!

How many times have you been in a motivational training / seminar and began to feel that excitement build that they are so good at producing. Then you begin to hear that small voice somewhere in the recesses of your brain whispering "Be careful, it's a nasty world out there sometimes."

utenzi said...

Michele sent me over, B-K. Hi!

The guy who manages the lab I'm next to has a calendar which is comprised of 12 signs like the one you featured in this post. They're quite funny. And a lot more true than the typical motivational posters.

As for me, I hate working under pressure. I'd not turn out to be a diamond. I can tell you that for sure!

Jerry in Tampa said...

Seems like motivation is like exercising and bathing - you have to keep doing them regularly to get the desired results....

GREAT blog!!!!

Hello, Michele sent me. And I will be back!

gautami tripathy said...

Glad it motivates you. Sometimes we do need to be inspired.

I like the poster!

Michele sent me here and she took a long time doing that!

kenju said...

Michele sent me back to see your poster again, Bob-kat. I looked at the Dilbert caroon too. Sometimes they are so very funny!

aka_Monty said...

I can definitely see how de-motivation would be more motivating to me, personally. I'm a rebel like that. heehee

I'm definitely going to go check out despair.com; sounds like my kind of place. :)

Hello, Michele sent me!

ribbiticus said...

yup, you definitely found a gem there! very funny if you think about it. thanks for sharing it with us. methinks my next stop'll be despair.com. ;)

michele says hi, btw! :)

mckay said...

love this! i'm going to have to check out their website for the rest of their posters.

one department where i work has the motivational posters all over the friggin place. a bit of overkill.

i'd love to order the despair brand for my area. ;0)

mckay said...

oops... here via michele's

.:mar said...

Love that poster! I work best under pressure but honestly: I do not miss it!
"despair.com": here I come (curiosity killed the cat but I am not a feline!)

Sara said...

Hello, Michele sent me to say that I just love that poster! I agree - the others are "too" sachrinized - one needs to look at both sides of the equation.

Have a wonderful week-end...

David said...

my sister recommended that web site, but until now I forgot about it (ADD)
thanks for the reminder

jsdaughter said...

Interesting concept and oh-so-true... Michele sent me tonight.

JAM said...

I love these things too. My group leader at work has a bunch of these posted on his office door.

My favorite is a photo of an order of french fries, the demotivational saying is: "Potential - Not everyone get to be an astronaut when they grow up."

Nothing like a good laugh to lower the stress level, eh?