Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Get Motivated … and get dumb

What does evolution have to do with personal success? Apparently, not a lot, at least according to motivational guru Zig Ziglar.

On Monday, October 9, Portland, Oregon, was the site of a “Get Motivated!” business seminar, described by Oregonian reporter Dylan Rivera as a “national cultural phenomenon of celebrities cashing in on their fame by speaking to businesspeople eager to recharge their morale.” Featured speakers in Portland included Colin Powell and Rudy Giuliani.

To his credit, Rivera does not let himself get seduced by the mood of the event. Instead of delivering a gushing piece about the energy in the hall, he calls out the little clues that reveal the cultish aspect of these mega events. He notes, for example, that

“Speakers advised audience members to believe in themselves, know what they want, hone communication skills and, several said, believe in God, preferably the conservative Christian version.”

And then somehow our favorite subject comes up:

“The crowd roared when Zig Ziglar – ‘America's #1 Motivator,’ event advertising says -- belittled the concept of evolution.”

“’I'm not a scientist or a prophet, but I'm going to predict that in 10 years' time, the theory of evolution will be just a bad joke that hung around too long,’ Ziglar said.”

I can’t, for the life of me, imagine how that comment found its way into the context of a motivational seminar. Maybe it’s all about the power of words. Words can overcome anything … even science … and facts … and reason. Maybe we should save that quote, and if Mr. Ziglar is still out there motivating in October 2016, someone can ask him about it.

Too weird.

Update: More reporting on the Portland event can be found at Disney, Republicans and Spirituality


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