Indienomics

free markets, free culture

Mood-altering “motivationals” — kitten posters, possibility books, and physical talismans

with 5 comments

snoop

In his book Snoop, psychologist Sam Gosling says we keep some stuff around to assert our identities (brand-name goods, affiliation markers), but other stuff we own to regulate our moods.

Sound familiar? What are all the things we surround ourselves with, to subtly or obviously motivate us towards goals?

innovation
Successories is a company that has seized this market for “visual motivation.” (I like to think they got their start from that inspirational “Hang in There” kitten poster from the 70’s.) You’ve seen the Successories posters before — a majestic bald eagle accompanies a pithy statement on “Excellence”, or a crew team rowing in early dawn exemplifies some proverb on “Teamwork.” The imagery and language of Successories is ripe for parody, not lost on Despair.com, whose line of Demotivators posters are committed to “Increasing Success by Lowering Expectations.”

Successories is cheesy because it’s manufactured and corporate-minded. What does a DIY approach look like for motivational propaganda?

In the 2005 film Last Holiday, Queen Latifah keeps a “Possibilities Book” — a scrapbook of magazine clippings and handwritten notes of her dreams for the future. When she finds out she has a terminal illness, she sets out to fulfill every dream in her possibilities book (which apparently involves going to chef Gérard Depardieu’s hotel chalet restaurant in Prague.)

In the web 2.0 world, a possibilities book could be something like 43Things.com, a site that “makes your life a list.” You put you goals down, 43 things you want to do before you die, and get encouragement from others and presumably the motivation that comes from just expressing a specific ambition.

dollar1Sometimes the things you carry, literally, are an expression of your ambition. A young Jim Carey — way before his big break, working the stand-up comedy circuit in L.A. — once wrote himself a post-dated check for $10 million and carried that around as a tangible reminder of his goals.

But back to web 2.0 and the DIY approach.

Why not make your own visually motivating posters? After all, only you know what gets you out of bed in the morning. For these people, it’s simple: Make Something Cool Every Day. For Jeffre Jackson, blogger at Pink Air and inspiration for this post, he’s created his own nifty set of DIY motivation collages…

stevemartin

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Written by @hellopanelo

March 21, 2009 at 7:05 pm

5 Responses

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  1. OMG – I love dispair.com! My favorite is the piece on “hard work” 🙂

    So very clever.

    Alex

    March 22, 2009 at 9:26 pm

  2. I can not believe I misspelled “despair.”

    Not so very clever.

    Alex

    March 22, 2009 at 9:26 pm

  3. I have a poster with all the women I admire on it. Role models are key, for me, as evidence “it can be done.” maybe the next step is to throw myself up there, too

    Alexis

    March 29, 2009 at 8:40 am

  4. seriously? alexis – what poster is that? WBNA team roster? j/k – i wanna see ur mug on a motivational poster!

    sharon

    March 29, 2009 at 8:57 am

  5. How about the opposite of a Possibilities Book? See Michael Ian’s Black, The F-It List:

    http://www.michaelianblack.net/blog/2009/03/the-fuck-it-list-goes-big-time.html

    Lois Saldana

    April 8, 2009 at 4:16 pm


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