The Biggest Lie in Motivation

The Biggest Lie in Motivation

The world of personal development is rife with cliches and bromides. Some are true, regardless of how often you read or hear them. Other claims have been accepted without question, including the biggest lie in motivation.

What is it?

“You can have it all.”

No, you can’t. You don’t have enough hours in the day, enough energy in your life or enough space in your house for “it all.”

Some of the unhappiest people I know are those who bought into that whopper. They lack priorities, choose uncomplimentary or conflicting values and wear themselves out pursuing every activity.

Try eating all you want and keeping your weight at a healthy level. 

Try traveling non-stop for business or pleasure and have meaningful relationships at home.

Try working long hours seven days a week and see how much leisure you’ll enjoy.

Everything of importance has value, and value has an associated cost. Trying to “have it all” doesn’t acknowledge the reality of time constraints. It is spending the currency of your life like a drunken sailor.

The bad news is that you can’t have it all.

The good news is that when you know what’s important, you don’t want it all anyway.

Broaden your focus too much by trying to “have it all” and you’ll get only a tiny bit if anything at all.

Uncover what is really important to you. Narrow your focus on that and you can go richer and deeper in those areas of your life that truly matter.


Mark Sanborn is an award winning speaker and Leadership Expert in Residence at High Point University, the Premier Life Skills University. For more information about his work, visit

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