I came across this blog post from everyday bright over the weekend and, the more I thought about it, the more I started to disagree.

Its hypothesis is that the kind of inspirational video like the viral hit How Bad Do You Want It sends out the wrong messages and, far from inspiring, can actually hurt us.

Inspiration

Inspiration is a very personal thing; we are all driven and inspired by different things, different people and our different goals.

Inevitably, what that means is that there is no single source of motivation or inspiration for any of us. I know that I gather my inspiration from a vast number of different places, from family and friends to other people’s stories of success and even odd things like how-to YouTube videos.

What matters most is that whatever inspires us is unique to us. If you’re inspired by staring for hours at a spider’s web glistening with morning dew, that’s just as valid as another’s inspiration drawn from climbing a sheer rock face with no safety gear. Neither would inspire me, but I can see their value.

Damage

The article’s main thrust is that the video in question was made in order to get its protagonist a shot at the NFL after he missed his prime years to be “spotted” playing college football by getting arrested and imprisoned.

It goes on to suggest that because just 0.04% of college football players ever play at a pro level, the video sets up unrealistic expectations.

But I don’t think the video is trying to suggest to anyone that making a YouTube video is the way to get picked up by a professional football team; it’s merely trying to serve as an inspiration to anyone willing to put in the work to be the best they can be.

Take-aways

For me, the video represents inspiration in 3 forms:

  • a great story, told in a compelling way (both video & the audio on it)
  • the dedication shown by the athlete to train himself to the point of NFL-readiness
  • the attitude we can all take to achieving whatever we want to

If anyone watching that video thinks that all it takes to get a pro contract, or achieve any goal we may have set ourselves, is to make a viral YouTube video then firstly, they have no idea how hard it is to go viral amid all the noise and haste of today’s internet and, secondly, they’ll never achieve their goal anyway.

Rather than giving false hope to a generation of wannabe football stars, I think the video serves to inspire and motivate all who watch it by delivering the ultimate truism:

It’s not about how bad you want it, it’s about how hard you’re willing to work to make it happen.

Pretty inspiring for me, at least.

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