Tuesday 4 January 2011

Self Help Drivel

You know - there's so much drivel written in the area of self-help.

I stay keyed in to a lot of newsletters and other professionals' stuff, so I know what the market's doing and what I need to compete with, and because of that I, perhaps like you, am getting a flush of it now, hoping to tap into the new year marketplace.

Common failure mechanisms are:

1. To entertain without educating - you spend some time amused, but you walk away as you were

2. To ignore external realities - all you have to do is tell your family to go to hell and you'll be free

3. To ignore internal realities - "first, you have to stop drinking and smoking". Great - well, what next??

A rule of thumb I always use is, having read some alleged pearl of wisdom, I ask myself:
"Exactly what can I see myself doing, now, to apply this lesson to my own life?"
If I can't find the answer, then the pearl could well qualify as drivvel. I call this my where's the meat? rule.

Let me show you what I mean with some examples.

Yesterday I was reading some new commandments and they were things like:

"People are stupid, self-centred and sometimes cruel - love them anyway".

- Well, I agree with the sentiment, and I can see the value of having done it, but how do I do it? Where's the meat? How do I bury or dissolve the apparently-natural tendencies I have to resent those tendencies in others? Presenting such a lofty goal without a how-to just leaves people feeling inadequate. Now some of them will buy the book, thinking some adequacy will rub off on them, but you know - it won't.

Another snippet in this morning's IN BOX is based around the revelation that I am, it seems, remarkable. Apparently, everything will be OK if I'm simply me. Really, what a crock! What if the ME I am prefers to sit on the sofa watching TV eating Quavers all day (have I said too much?)? I WON'T BE OK!!!

So - rant over, but I Counsel caution when taking up with these people. Don't be tied to the past by your own pessimism, but don't be sold a false future through blind hope either. How will you know? Ask the magic question:

"Yes, but - where's the meat?"

Oh, Happy New Year!

Yours, Mr Meat :o)

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