“Keep Calm and Carry On” is the most famous motivational poster, with “Tomorrow is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life” coming in at a close second. But back in the 1910s through the Depression-era 1930s, motivation was in its golden years. How did industrialists and business leaders get the most productivity out of their workers? Not through cost-of-living increases or profit sharing or unexpected bonuses—but through a barrage of motivational sayings.
See them repeated and hear them ringing in the ear, and that equals behavior modification at its loftiest. Today there are plenty of motivational books, posters, and other profitable ephemera (just look here), but do they hold a candle to the best of American output during the early part of the century? For the next two days, an uplifted Daily Heller will present vintage motivational cards in the hope that you will come away, well, motivated. (Thanks to John Baeder, who was motivated to keep these and release them into my equally inspired custody.)
Watch for tomorrow’s Daily Heller for more fresh motivations. [Update: Here’s part two.]
Still feeling unmotivated? Try the book Inspirability: 40 Top Designers Speak Out About What Inspires, or Glenn John Arnowitz’s webcast on “Design Inspiration for the Wired, Tired and Uninspired.”