“When we started Despair, we had a dream. To crush other people’s dreams. But we knew, given our goal, we’d be in for a fight. After all, the Motivation Industry has been crushing dreams for decades, selling the easy lie of success you can buy. That’s why we decided to differentiate ourselves- by crushing dreams with hard truths!”
“No industry has inflicted more suffering than the Motivational Industry. Motivational books, speakers and posters have made billions of dollars selling shortcuts to success and tools for unleashing our unlimited potential. At Despair, we know such products only raise hopes to dash them. That’s why our products go straight to the dashing! Enjoy!”
Demotivators vs motivators
Despair Inc has made its mission to “crush” the self-help, motivational, multi- million dollars industry with its demotivators products. Joke apart, by taking the opposite view, Despair Inc can have a very salutary effect on the self-help industry in general. Serious.Of course, Despair Inc has no chance of crushing this industry: there shall always be dreamers and fortunately so, I dare say. Nonetheless, their concept can certainly raise the standards of what is offered in self-help. It may, I hope, produce more guarded consumers that shall make more sensible choices, especially when the target audience is impressionable adolescents. On top of that, they found a way to do it without preaching or moralizing. Kudos to you Despair.
As a coach, I am constantly bombarded with slick motivational messages. So I need, at times, to use some critical thinking, mustered from 4 years of literary criticism and my French temperament, to play the devil’s advocate. Despair Inc has shortened the process with its fun posters. Thanks to these, I know what the latest buzzword in the industry is and can reflect on the usefulness of these messages. The posters constitute sharp heuristics, by juxtaposing self-help, motivational clichés, usually revamped, with, seemingly, unrelated images a la National Geographic. The result can be downright hilarious or/and insightful, It is ironically hopeless or hopefully despairing, but never pompously superficial.
Life is Hard But There’s Despair
“Life is hard […]Once we know that life is difficult- once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult.” The Road Less Travelled, by Scott Peck
Whenever, I take myself too seriously, I take a good dose of Despair inc and the Pessimist, among others. And I indeed took myself too seriously lately, so I can use a little lightness. It happened that I chanced or, shall I say, providenced on Despair Inc about 2 years ago. In the past 2 years, I’ve been following Despair on their wailing list newsletter, I have become more cautious with the messages that I intend to share with my audience as a result. It is true that after reading The Road Less Travelled, by Scott Peck, some 15 years ago, the scales, then, already fell of my eyes: Life is hard, life is difficult ( as if my serial burnouts weren’t lessons enough). But this message is so hard to sell, especially to audiences that could do with a little help from a coach, that I don’t always dare. Fortunately, there’s Despair Inc.
Sometimes, when I despair with marketing my work, I wish I had discovered the Despair Inc concept before they did: succinct writing, good, understandable, fun, refreshing and humorous messages, good quality inexpensive products, a thriving business, and last but not least, being of service to people. Maybe, one day, Despair Inc will be state-approved.