Is Zig Ziglar Wrong?
Article on Sales & Motivation by Victor Antonio
It's worth noting upfront for those of you who don't know me that I am a huge fan of Zig Ziglar and he has had a tremendous influence in my career. That said, I realize that I'm about to commit motivational blasphemy...but here it goes!
Too often I hear the famous Zig Ziglar quote, “You can have anything you WANT in life if you will help enough other people get what they WANT!”
While on the surface this quote may seem elegantly profound, I'd like to challenge the quote, not on the merit of its intended value, but on the merits of its application to real life.
You see, this quote is presumptuous at the least to conclude, assume, and even presuppose that people KNOW what you WANT.
The fact of the matter is, most people don't know what they want and because they don't know what they want, even if they helped enough people get what they want, they still won't get what they want because since they don't know what they want, even if they were to get what they wanted, they wouldn't recognize it because they don't know what they want.
You may say, "Some people know what they want." Very well, let's be generous and assume they KNOW what they WANT. They figured it out. Well, a new problem arises. Just because they know what they want, many never ask for what they want so they go through life expecting others to know what they want, or worst, assume others know what they want, so they NEVER ASK for what they want…and eventually they get tired and frustrated of watching others get what they want while still not getting what they want.
Unfair you say? Fair enough! Lets be gracious enough to bestow upon them the power of enlightenment where they know what they want and the gift of speech to announce to the world what they want. That doesn't move them any closer to getting what they want. Because even when they figure out what they want, and ask for what they want, most people simply don't know HOW to ask for what they want, let alone knowing HOW to go about getting what they want and therefore never get what they want and conclude erroneously that life is unfair because it won't give them what they want even when they ask for what they want.
So there you have it…the three (3) states of want that stop people from getting what they want:
- They don't know what they want.
- They know what they want, but never ask for what they want.
- Ask for what they want, but don't know how to ask correctly for what they want so they don't get what they want.
But allow me to be generous one last time. Allow me to be the benevolent benefactor, the philanthropical protagonist if it were in the lives of those people who know what they want and GRANT THEM what they want.
Even then, reality rears its ugly head. Because even when people GET what they WANT, most realize that it isn't what they WANTED. What they thought they wanted and got, turns out to be less then what they wanted so now they are further confused and don't know what they want and don't trust themselves to know what they want going forward. Which gets them back to problem #1 stated above which is not knowing what you want and since WANTS change over time, how can you ever be sure of what you want?
And there, as the English would say, is the rub! An infinite loop of a 'wanting' that is never satisfied. So what then is the alternative to Zig's quote? May I humbly suggest the following: Help other people not with the hope of "getting a want", help others just because it makes you feel good and that's all you want!
Victor Antonio, A Ziglarian :-)
p.s., All that said, “You can have anything you want in life if you will help enough other people get what they want!” really is a GREAT quote!
Copyright © 2012 by Victor Antonio. All rights reserved. This article MAY be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, as long as the author’s name, website and email address are included as part of the article’s body. All inquiries, including information on electronic licensing, should be directed to Victor Antonio.