29 March 2006


Today I attended a motivational business seminar as part of a team building activity for work. In a nutshell it was one of the weirdest experiences I've had while over in the US. The end result is that I'm not really any more motivated than when I got up this morning but I did learn a few interesting things.

The speakers that I saw today included Steve Forbes, General Colin Powell and Zig Ziglar, apparently the #1 motivator in the US. There were other speakers I didn't get to see including Rudolph Giuliani, Don Shula and Jerry Lewis. I wasn't feeling too well (6 days straight of going out finally got to me) so my friend and I left early.

Basically the whole thing was very American. Duh. When a speaker got on stage to talk there was a massive blast of music accompanied by pyrotechnics. This brought on many a raised eyebrow by myself. There was also a lot of 'patting America on the back', where the speaker would mention how great the country was, how free it was, how it was the greatest democracy ever, how it brought freedom to other countries afar, and there were a few compulsory 9/11 references to boot. At *any* of these references the crowd would go completely wild and insane which caused me to shrink down in my seat and think to myself "I don't belong here..." If you know me then you know I totally and completely disagree with the whole Iraq thing and I think America's foreign policy stinks. A lot of the stuff mentioned simply did not fly with me.

So the whole thing seemed to be a little Republican convention. It was about being successful and how you can best serve your own interests. Just from what I've seen over here so far that seems to fit the Republican psyche very well. It also showed how effective the speakers were at instilling these belief systems in the general American public. There is so much pomp and fanfare and glitz and glamour that I nearly found myself getting caught up in the moment.

The whole day also seemed to be an telemarketing campaign where you actually paid (I didn't of course, my company did) to get advice from people pushing their own agendas. "This tool is the best... you can see when the three green arrows come up and that's when you buy stocks... this whole program is normally $7000 but today you can get it for only $1000! Hurry! This is a limited offer only available today!" While I don't doubt the effectiveness of the tool, the whole thing did seem to be very late-night telemarketing-ish. It also brought back memories of the timeshare experience I had a while ago.

An interesting day, that is for sure. I learnt a few things, although the things learnt were not intended to be sent across by the presenters, I'm guessing. I'm actually keen to go to a full-on Republican convention now. Call me a masochist, but I just want to see more of this sort of stuff to see how bad it can *really* get.

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