Posted May 7, 2013 10:18 am

Does this make me a terrible person?

You know those movies in which the whole premise is an underdog sports team overcoming the odds and the challenges to take home a win and everything is so heartfelt and you are supposed to feel inspired and motivated and overjoyed? Least. Favorite. Genre. Inspirational sports films? No thank you.

But it goes further than that. Inspirational dance movies? Nope. Inspirational films about teachers reaching inner-city students? Cringe. There is something about the saccharine and cliches that makes me want to barf. 

And further still, I can't stand motivational speakers. All that enthusiasm bubbling up on stage with the "You can do anything!" attitude generally rubs me the wrong way.

You might be asking (if you are actually reading this), "But Melissa, you interview people with stories like this all the time!" — You've got me! I have actually interviewed motivational speakers. I have also interviewed local residents who are inspiring. 

Somehow, it's totally different. Maybe it's the one-on-one interaction (that was part of a conversation with Pillars speaker Josh Sundquist), people behave differently at that level — it's more personal, more intimate, more real. Or maybe it's that I am skeptical, very skeptical, about what I consider the blanket theme of "You can do anything if you just put your mind to it and keep trying!" I brought that up when talking with Charlie Plumb. He agreed. Some people have a different set of opportunities in front of them, he basically said. 

I think taking people off the stage, out of the film, and interacting with them one-on-one is the best way for me to be inspired. I guess it's kind of unreasonable for these people to tell their notable stories to everyone individually, so the big speaking engagements, books and films might be necessary — but I guess I'm lucky to be in a position to hear the story in a setting that makes me susceptible to the inspiration.


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