Motivational Books Abound
Visit a bookstore today, and you will find a self-help section filled with books, all claiming to offer ways to help you with your productivity, love life, finances, and everything else under the sun (well, stuff “under” the sun would probably be in the Astronomy section…)
The Motivation Niche Blogs
Go online, and you will find a multitude of websites and blogs who offer information to similar effects, including the excellent Zen Habits, the inspiration for this one.
But Who’s First?
I’ve been wondering who was the first motivational speaker?
“Influencers” on Today
Last century we had Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie and others whose books are still popular today (I’m currently working my way through a Napoleon Hill book). This site features an article that suggests that Ralph Waldo Emerson was the first motivational speaker of modern times.
Of course, I have not read every single historical book out there, but with my somewhat typical college-level education, I would wager that some of the better known historical figures with whom people are familiar were actually the first motivational speakers:
- Shakespeare – perhaps he spoke more through his “players” than himself, but can anyone argue against all the life lessons found in his plays?
- Socrates – going back further, I would have to say many of the principles espoused by today’s great motivational speakers were explored in ancient Greco-Roman times
- Confucious – the Chinese philosopher and scholar to whom we usually attribute the Golden Rule offered principles a hundred years earlier
Of course, there are lots of other notables, including religious and political ones, that we can consider motivational speakers, for they truly did motivate people to do things (good or bad things, that’s up for debate).
We will never find out who was truly the very first motivational speaker (most likely, it was probably a caveperson who wanted his/her clan to move to a new spot where there were unpicked wild berries.)
What Really Matters
In the end, it doesn’t really matter. Today there are tons of motivational speakers, life coaches and other pundits. As long as the principles they put forth are constantly explored, analyzed, questioned and tested, and those that “make the cut” for the critical thinker are practiced in a way to better all of humankind, that’s all that really matters.
In the “Beginning”, We Were Farmers
The United States started out as 13 colonies, where one of main focuses was farming, since everyone had to eat. Households had farms that provided most of their needs, and any excess can be used for barter, trading, etc. Only with adequate food could there have been development of trade, much less the Revolutionary War. I’d say farming was king.
Unparalleled Growth In the Intervening Years
Over the ensuing decades, social, economic, and technological development resulted in increased populations, and mass production of foodstuff. Industrialization resulted in a multitude of products. Cars and planes brought helped make the world a bit smaller. We got a couple of World Wars, the Baby Boom, the Golden Age of Television, the Age of Information. During these times, most of our foods came from giant corporate farms who supplied massive factories, fast-food chains, etc. They still do now.
Coming Full Circle In Recent Years
But now, we are learning to shop local farmers’ markets, end the use of chemical fertilizers, go organic, reuse, recycle and compost (I’m all for that).
Wanting to escape from the modern “rat race”, some families even move out of the big cities, onto their own land.