I'm sorry people, but I'm just a little tired of all these coaches, personal developers, self-improvers, motivational experts . . . oh, my favorite, law of attraction coaches. To a great degree, they simplify the improvement process to a few workshops, a little journaling, some programming and . . . viola! You're cured! Humans are a little more complex than that. Certainly improvements are made through these devices, but deep-seeded and long lasting problems take time and effort to change. No one is going to learn how to play the guitar proficiently in ten weeks, quilt in one, or overcome complex emotional issues in thirty days.
But my question today is, why has all this come about? Where has this proliferation in self-help come from. It is nothing new, of course. It has been around since antiquity with the poetry of Hesiod, Proverbs, the Stoics, and in more modern times Benjamin Franklin, but of late it has become an $8.5 billion dollar industry. Why? My guess? We've just become too damn self-involved with all our leisure time. Maybe instead of sitting around moaning about how much we're hurting, it's time to get off the couch and start assertin'.
I must confess that I label myself a success expert, but I don't and have never relied on any courses, workshops, motivational books or tapes to learn all the principles of success I have acquired and applied to my life. I only just began reading the "experts" after beginning my business in the last year. To learn the principles, I simply used my God-given intelligence and common sense to get to where I am now, in the process overcoming my weaknesses to become proficient in the fields of computer programming, entertainment, collegiate education, and as an entrepreneur.
The reason I write today is to ask the question, do we really need all these experts? Do their teachings truly work?
Think about this, where did all the successful people of the past go to acquire success principles? Certainly there were mentors, but there is another source used that we need to return to that is truly missing in this day and age. And there is one important element that we need in order to tap into this source: silence. It is there, we simply must overcome the distractions to get to it: satellite and cable with 100+ channels, the Internet (You Tube, My Space, eCRUSH, Facebook, Flickr, Tagged), online games (don't get me going on the addictive World of Warcraft) and gaming (also addictive gambling), Xbox, The (name of town/street/city here) 21, Blockbuster Video . . . But by listening to the intuitive, the sixth sense, our common sense, the divine, if you will, we will find answers and answers in abundance. You simply have to shut off your devices and learn. All that noise is blocking out that inner voice so you end up going to the wrong or unnecessary external voices for inaccurate and unnecessary information.
All this self-indulgence. We have become a land of naval lickers. We pacify ourselves with self-loving coos and caws hoping we will be the next one to be the latest reality show "celebrity." But we need to overcome our self-indulgence, propensity for continual and intensive entertainment. Entertainment for distraction and variety is fine, but for endless hours of over-indulgence is where the problem arises.
Let me try to put our indulgence into perspective for you. Some of this may not be easy to digest, so I suggest you put the kid in you to sleep and let the adult stay up a little later.
If you have a car on loan from the bank and rent an apartment, you are doing better than 90% of the rest of the world. If you are making more than $3 a day, you are doing better than half the world. If you can go off to college with fingernail polish on and don't risk having your fingers pulled out and getting killed, you are doing better than most women in the Middle East (a true story told me by one of my students). If you are the oldest daughter and don't have to give up marriage because you have to take care of your parents until they die, then you are doing better than the oldest daughters in Mexico (another student's story). If you don't worry about having your grandfather taken out of his bed in the middle of the night and shot for having done absolutely nothing--merely because he was suspected of having done something--you are living well (another student's story). If you don't have to worry about starving to death or being shot because of political persecution or chased halfway across your country because your father was killed for opposing the paramilitary . . . (you guessed it).
Where did this coaching phenomenon come from? It was certainly born of a country with much safe and comfortable time on its hands. But you aren't thinking about coaching if you come from a country where if you lose control of your bike around a corner and smash through the door of someone's house, and getting up you're looking down the barrel of a gun, and the only reason this drug lord has not shot is because you act remorseful, your humility saving you (you guessed it, a true story--my wife's son when he lived in Colombia).
Where are you in all of this? Where are you in your understanding of not just yourself but the world that lives and breathes around you.
Americans are spoiled. From sea to shining sea, from the greatest land known to man, one where you can wear nice sneakers, watch, and rings without worrying about being robbed, killed, or raped. American's need to get perspective. People need to stop spending pointless loads of cash on entertaining themselves and over-indulging in self-serving devices.
"Getters generally don't get happiness; givers get it. You simply give to others a bit of yourself a thoughtful act, a helpful idea, a word of appreciation, a lift over a rough spot, a sense of understanding, a timely suggestion. You take something out of your mind, garnis hed in kindness out of your heart, and put it into the other fellow's mind and heart."--Charles H. Burr