It’s Not Easy

Miss Piggy may have the right idea… don’t take the self-help mystique too seriously, be true to yourself, and above all, have fun!

Yesterday I looked at a serious approach to understanding why even earnest and sincere attempts at self-improvement often fail. To-day I invite you to share another article from the New York Magazine.

Here is their summary of 31 self-help books… read the whole list in FOUR minutes. Seriously… 4 minutes, and you will be a well-read expert on the topic.

Hilarious… $11 billion worth of laughing all the way to the bank. Maybe we should try writing our own self-help books. This manipulative cynicism and sheer stupidity gets published and people pay hard-earned money for it!

Here is one example:

Make Them Want You: The Art of Seduction By Robert Greene  From the beginning of time, getting over has been the basic human art—and Greene plucks the best advice from philosophers, playwrights, novelists, and others.

Lessons:
• Treat your reputation like a work of art—something that you have to carefully consider and craft.

• Be hard to figure out. Send mixed signals: both tough and tender, both spiritual and earthly, both innocent and cunning. A mix of qualities suggests depth.

• Don’t be too nice. Charming and kind can grow monotonous. Try inflicting some pain instead. Make your target feel guilty or insecure. The lower the lows, the higher the highs.

• If you make someone the star, he’ll grow addicted to you.

• Be hypnotic. Repeat words, especially ones with emotional content, like “taxes,” “liberals,” and “bigots.”

Let the Universal Forces Be With You: The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams By Deepak Chopra  The surfing-hidden-currents approach to self-help.

Lessons:
• Maintain silence for a certain period of time every day—one to two hours is ideal.

• Meditate twice a day—30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.

• Let go of the need to convince others that you are right—use that energy to instead focus on more positive pursuits.

Yes, many things can be made to sound foolish when taken out of context, but I have read enough of this stuff to be quite cynical.

I wonder what Oprah, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil… and all the rest of the media gurus…  would say about Kermit’s self-acceptance in the face of self-criticism? Let’s give the wise little frog, the last word… along with some help from Lena Horne!

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