Motivational Videos - Are you addicted to this goodness?

If something appears all good, then something bad must be hidden underneath.

Motivation has the power to achieve impossible possibilities. Motivation drives courage. This blog post is not about what good motivation can do to your life. This article is exploring the addiction towards motivation which is being streamed over your smartphone. The motivational videos. What could be the extent of damage a video full of motivation can have on us?

Let us uncover it layer by layer.     

How I felt when I watched the first motivational video with full focus?
I felt elevated by the motivational video I came across on YouTube. Indeed, that was a pure delight when I had my first encounter with a video of this kind. I felt that video has made an impact on my life. I felt a significant influence on my perspective. My perspective became open and positive. I witness an obvious but very precious knowledge. Indeed, it was a life changing moment.

I was filled with joy. I was on experiencing happiness. I was introspecting myself. I was building a roadmap of success. I got a new meaning towards life. Motivation was sky high. I could see myself scaling heights of achievements in future.

This is what motivation is supposed to do to your life. Motivation transform individuals. Motivation changes life.

Does motivational videos really change your life?

Or they are just another content made for entertainment?

I respect the content and enlightenment these motivational videos bring to our life. They are phenomenal. They are created with lots of creativity and brainstorming to arrive at the final draft of content. Every word in these videos are carefully chosen so that it will have an impact on their audiences' mind. These speakers have genuine intent to contribute for community.

The problem lies on behavioral side of we the 'audience'. Whenever we see a motivational video, we feel the urge of more content to get inspired further. Yes, there is an urge for more inspiration. Just like cigarrettes, you have one you get an urge for more of it. Your mind is filled with positive energy. But, your body is in idle state. We generally watch these videos in our free time. When we do not have any other higher priority task to address. Or we watch videos at places where we are active, but we can afford to engage our ears to someone speaking in background. YouTube could be your companion at places like Kitchen, Bathrooms or even at workplace. We fill the free bandwidth of mind with audio and visuals. We invite lethargies into us.

Eventually, motivation becomes an addiction. This is an addiction to watch or listen to these wonderful speakers. They are evolved speakers with an attractive way of communication. They touch the pain points in our daily lives. They provide solutions. They show us new light and wisdom. They fill our minds with courage. We understand what serenity means through them. 

*They package goodness with logic and common sense. They also want us to do good. They genuinely want to make this world a better place. There are some speakers who do not monetize their videos and even some of them do not have anything to sell. They are successful in their life and profession. They just reach out their wisdom of success and happiness to us in best possible way. They engage us. They inspire us.

That is why we want more of them. More of their wisdom. More of those secrets of life. More of that common sense which was there but hidden somewhere before we heard them. More of those methods to change of life for good.

Even though we watch so much of motivation, how come we are stuck in a similar situation of life. Still, many of us wonder; that life is same. The way it was before. There is no major change to our lives. *

Certainly, we consume someone else's wisdom. Somehow, this goes out from our mind and body. The words we hear and the graphics we see; vanishes before making an imprint to our mind. Yes, we do remember some of those content. We might reproduce that knowledge if we are asked to consult someone else. Some of us might have been benefited by these videos. But, the ugly truth is that most of us are not. We just fail to implement such motivation in our life.

We find ourselves stuck in the mud of positivity. This is the quicksand of good thoughts without any action.

Statistics - Even motivational speakers are not spared to it

Statistics are addictive. These motivational speakers or the mechanism behind these motivation factories is not spared by these numbers. Everyone on digital platform wants to have maximum reach of audience. In fact, we Offline Therapy are not be spared by this phenomenon as well. Every content producer has a sense of achievement on these data points of views, likes, dislikes, followers, duration of audience's engagement, demographics and other analytics. 

These platforms have a strong analytics engine to serve the content producers. If the content producers are well hooked, they will find ways to engage the larger quantum of potential audiences. The digital platforms have multiple ways of user engagements. One way or another we as consumer should be engaged on these platforms. This is what they want.

For a content maker; these statistics has a direct co-relation with influencing capacity and money (by product). These statistics excite them further when they see what is coming on their road map of internet ventures.   

These analytics empower the content producers to actively monitor how their content are perform when published online. The behavior of the audiences tracked helps Bloggers, YouTubers, Social Media marketers to continuously improve on their content quality and achieve better engagement.

No wonder Motivational Speakers hits the bright spot. They are evolving into better version of themselves. The analytics knowledge base created through our behavior empowers them to produce better and relevant and more focused content. Content which evolving every day is more engaging.   

The platforms like YouTube knows better what kind of content you will prefer to stream. Close your eyes and recall, what happened when you started watching motivational videos of the first speaker you came across? Eventually, YouTube started suggesting you more of similar videos of the speaker. Also, you were suggested with of similar videos of other speakers whom you didn't knew before. Now, you have a faculty of motivational speakers in your YouTube suggestions. In fact, we can classify these speakers into different genres of motivation.

Evolution of Entertainment
We have evolved into this digital age. When we had analog transmission of television (e.g. Doordarshan in India); our time to stare at the screen was limited. It was confined to some TV shows for entertainment, NEWS bulletins for to the point information, educational programs and some regional transmission. Doordarshan was offline in late night hours. But, it had something to offer for a diversified section of audience. Timing was the constraint. Repeat telecast of the show was an alien concept. We had to wait for the stipulated time to watch the mass medium.

In this digital age; the concept of mass medium has evolved. It is still the mass medium, but its offering is catered to a numerous niche. If you are reading this line and you have landed on this web page through an organic search or suggested by the platform, then it means you belong to a niche of an audience group who is either interested in motivational speeches or has the potential rebellion quest of breaking down from the boundaries of digital slavery we all are trapped into.  

Now, there is no offline time for entertainment. Entertainment is at your fingertip. You need not wait for the next dose of entertainment. It is available at your disposal. You just need to tap it on your smart phone, browse it on your laptop or call out to voice operated digital assistant to stream it on the Smart TV. Next episode tomorrow or next week is a thing of past. Everything is available at the very moment.

The 'Dose of Dopamine'
Entertainment has evolved. Information and Education is fused with entertainment to make it infotainment and edutainment respectively. Motivational videos are entertainment packaged with self-help education. The intent to self-help becomes a self-addiction. *The audience is again trapped into the self-helplessness. The dopamine is being released by these videos as well. Which makes us to cheerfully hear same words of motivation because every time it is presented with a new packaging, perspective and in a more engaging (read entertaining) way. Just like the cigarrettes, there is nothing new, but the addicted person will enjoy.
I just realized while writing this article that whenever our older belief system is challenged with a new school of thought, we feel ecstatic. There is some rush of hormones released, fill us into the cocktail of pondering thoughts, joy of learning something new and software upgrade of the belief system.

'Dopamine' is released.

For example, It is more than 10 years now when I first learned that our schooling system was obsolete and the curriculum is generations old. Society and schools don’t teach us practical things like money management and industry useful skills. Rather they teach us knowledge which is designed to make us slaves. Still, even now whenever I come across this concept through different writers or speakers; I feel some sort of mixed emotional delight, some pondering and the subsequent software update on my belief system.

We love to hear this. But, we never do anything. Schooling, education and societal thinking is still following that old pattern. In some cases, it may even get worse. But, most of us do nothing. We just love to read, listen or watch someone speaking this concept. Because that is one sort of addiction. We love the release of dopamine. We enjoy. Although, acting to such motivation is never a call of action.

If you have noticed, the motivational speakers frequently use such phrase and concepts in their speeches which will hit the sweet spot of your belief system. They bring novelty to those age-old verses of motivations. We as consumer consume it every time even if nothing new is offered. Just like the person who is addicted to cigarettes.       

Laziness perspective.
We trick our brain with delights of motivation. Motivational videos are like a sweet poison. You are glued to the screen in your hand. Powered by the content, voice and visuals; these motivational videos pull your mental energy towards them. We feel lazy. We are awake, but mind hits a snooze button. Just like a chain smoker; there are plentiful repeated dose of motivation. Cigarettes harm your lungs. Too much of videos may harm your brain. You do nothing while watching these videos.

Streaming of videos over internet will give you laziness. Especially when you are addicted to stream videos on your mobile phone. Your eyes will be tired. This could deprive you of the precious sleep hours. Your sleeping patterns will get hampered. Exposure of audio to your ears will have its compounding effect. Ears are another gateway to your brain. Your brain is not indulged into doing something creative. Rather your brain is just consuming the creativity of someone else. You are consuming someone else's wisdom.   

Instead of filling your mind with positive energy; an unusual watch time towards motivational videos may fail to fill your brain with positivity. In fact, the energy inside you are sucked out. Remember you can channelize this energy 

You tend to postpone your primary priorities. You are too involved in streaming these videos. You procrastinate!

These videos make you isolated with your surroundings. You are in your own world. Where you are getting regular updates of motivation and entertainment together. Have you felt the immense craving when your video watching is interrupted by someone? You feel agitated. You want the interruption the end as soon as possible so that you can resume your video streaming. You get craving for that positivity. This makes detached and emotionally unstable. Prolonged video watching habit on small screens in isolation can have adverse effect on mental health.

Sad but true, even though you watch content filled with positivity and motivation; you are vulnerable to harmful psychological side effects. Too much of streaming good and inspirational wisdom on your mobile phone, may end up as an agitated, irritated, lazy person.

Time constraint
Reading a long blog or a book is a time-consuming task. We are losing the habit of reading for leisure and motivation. In this information age, reading has become relatively boring task. Information and knowledge are now available at our finger tips. Technology is trying to make activities faster and effortless. You just need to tap or ask your voice assistant for the quest in your mind. The technological advancements have made us to behave impatiently. We want everything right now. We do not like to study and explore the depth of knowledge. We just love to cut the crap and get what we want in a summarized format. 

For motivation and self-help; the streaming videos has become a preferred option. Lack of time makes us to choose book summary video instead of reading the whole book. Watching a speaker on motivation is preferred over the book on motivation.

Reading a book has its own advantages. These advantages are covered in another blog. We are now deprived of these benefits. The creativity of our mind to ignite our senses to hear and visualize what is written in the books is being curbed. Now we happily consume the creativity of the content producer.

Ironically, the time spent on streaming videos, mindless scrolling of feeds on social media and internet browsing might consume more of our than reading a good book or journal. 

Repetition - yet engaging
Most of the motivational content speakers have a limited concept. Yet they find new ways of delivering same concept and make their content engaging. Because we want to hear those good words of wisdom. Because we have that level of addiction. As discussed in the dose of dopamine; it is our craving for this unique blend of dopamine which restricts our brain to reject repetition of same concept. Our brain likes these doses of dopamine.

Welcome to the web loop
Story doesn't end with motivational videos. Motivational videos are the gateway for you to eventually look for a change on these platforms. After a certain point, your brain's box will be filled with motivation and eventually it will look for a change. Here we have following scenarios possible
1.       Switch to contents of another genre on the same web streaming platform
2.       Switch to another web streaming platform
3.       Do something else on smartphone/internet
4.       Turn off and disconnect from the web streaming platform and internet altogether

We struggle to choose option 4. Option 1, 2 or 3 are most likely outcomes. Exposure the screen and sound take away rationality, logic and agility from our brain. The idle brain enjoys the rush of dopamine and prefers to remain in that idle state.

The solution
We have defined the problem statement above. Motivational speakers have a good intent; but it is our behavioral pattern and vulnerability of brain to remain enjoying the dopamine rush or switch to other kind of content on internet is the problem area. Once you are lost in the vast world of internet you may end up doing mindless scrolling of social media timelines, news, websites or stream videos of any kind.

Internet is vast. In this vast universe of data, we tend to lose the purpose of being there and find ourselves during unwanted information. Chemically, dopamine hormone is released which makes us feel cozier but in reality, we become lazier with brain fades. 

Remember, we are programmed by the wizards of internet. Installing another computer program to fight these computer programs will have a short-term benefit. A notification blocker or watch timer application on your smartphone or any other software solution created for this purpose will have its own limitations. It will be like applying a band aid over an internal wound.

We need a structural solution to overcome this level of addiction.

First, you need to self-realize that you are inflicted with some level of addiction to internet. Even if your self-assessment says that you are not addicted; watch out how you could become an addicted person. This will help you to take preventive measures.

Once you are self-aware of the fact about addiction, then you have to work to improve your will power.

Device a mechanism of reminders to let you remember that you do not need to fall in the trap of digital slavery.

Have open discussion with your friends and family on this topic of striking balance between our engagements on digital world and the real physical world. Have discussions with your friends, family, at your home, offices, canteens, literary clubs, debate clubs on the topics related to our addictions towards digital media. 

Implement curfew hours for internet and TV at home. Children are equally vulnerable.

Forbid use of mobile phones during certain activities like meals, washrooms, etc.

Allocate tiny windows for YouTube usage. Restrict yourself to watch one video at a time. Cherry Pick from the wide range of suggested thumbnails. You may not judge book by its cover; but you should be choosy while watching the videos.

Have minimum notifications on your mobile. Disable the news feeds on your smartphone. Our mind should have organic curiosity not the injected one through these notifications and news feeds.

Block notifications of all video streaming platforms on your mobile. You have to manually open the application to watch videos. A notification should not drive you here. You will naturally cut your smartphone usage and web streaming if you will block notifications at its source.

One motivation a day

Yes, just one motivational video a day. This is the ideal number. Only streaming motivational video will not have its impact on your life. Impact will be delivered only when you start acting on it. When you implement your learning from these videos to your life. Specify a time of the day when you will listen to these motivational words. Allow yourself with a day to find the suitable way to implement this in your life. This can help you to cultivate good habits and make your life better.

This will not be an easy thing to implement if you are a marathon video watcher. But, it is not impossible.


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