With last week’s postings done, I can revert to the more important matter of life and how to make the most of it! One thing that interests me at the moment is the plethora of books advertising their ability to turn you into a towering success in every aspect of your life. I read one a couple of months ago called “Unlimited Power” by an extraordinary fellow who, from the cover of the book, looks a little like Jaws from the Bond films! Naturally he’s a tall, handsome American with teeth like a concert hall piano, and he’s quite obviously made an enormous success of his own life, largely by telling others how to do just the same.
A number of things trouble me about these sorts of books. The most trivial of which is; clearly we can’t all make huge successes of ourselves writing self-help books (which seems to be about the easiest way to make money). Someone has to actually do some real work.
But the thing that’s really troubling about all these books, is that they all start out on the basic premise that we (the readers) are all hopeless losers in need of becoming triumphant winners. “What’s wrong with this?” I hear you ask.
Well…potentially, quite a lot. It seems to me that there are two apparent paths to happiness, developing goals and achieving them, or learing to appreciate the things you already have in life. These two approaches are almost diametrically opposed to each other, and whilst the “go get it” story sounds very alluring, there are some very dangerous currents flowing there. If you train people to set goals and then strike out for them, you run the risk of creating a group of people who are constantly in the state of travelling towards one objective or another, and habitually set new destinations for themselves. How can such people ever find lasting peace?
I think – and perhaps the one or two people that read this blog can opine – that there is a hole in the market for a book that teaches you that you are a star, you have acheived great things, life goes on and there are people who love you. Money and career aren’t everything. Perhaps to achieve “Unlimited Power” we should first be congratulating ourselves on where we have arrived! We should rejoice that we are alive and that every day brings the miracle of dawn to planet that hurtles through space around a ball of fire!