Friday, January 25, 2013

Self Improvement

Self improvement.  It's big business these days. We're constantly bombarded with adds to help us lose weight, get educated,  improve our social skills and the like.  Clearly we are a race of inferiors that need these self-help gurus to line their pockets with our hard-earned cash while leading us to the promised land of a new,. improved self.  Of course the cycle is constant.  We never quite make it to the promised land as another guru quickly points out in his/her ad, keeping the collective paranoia running along quite nicely.

Now - clearly we all need to improve ourselves.  Staying informed, learning and growing with the pace of society these days is not an easy task but one that can be accomplished with effort. Things change too rapidly to be caught with your head in the sand. Just be smart about it and don't let the barrage of self-help ads dictate your direction.

Religious leaders preach to us their path is the way to salvation and  happiness.  That works for some of us. Funnily enough they often reach deeper into our pockets than the self-help gurus bombarding us with ads.  I'll leave it to you to decide if religion is the path for you.  Just leave it out of my politics if you please.

There are those who believe rational self interest in the self improvement model that will lead us to the promised land. The  man's happiness is the moral purpose of his life crowd.   I suspect many conservative-minded folk find that appealing.

There's Tony Robbins, David Allen and many other "power of positive thinking" gurus, all adding their own spin to Norman Vincent Peale's notions. Bury the negative in optimism types. If that works for you, feel free to indulge and spend your cash

Then there's something like The Wonder Box - a book recently gifted to me by our resident Indian gurus of all things human - Ramana.  It takes a look at the historical perspectives of many of what I call blinding flashes of the obvious and puts them into context, among other things. I'll have a cpm[plete review when I finish the book.

The point to all of this? Simply stated, to grow is to improve. Inform your self.  Improve yourself by seeking help when YOU need it.  Ask a trusted confidant - one you trust to be honest with you about things.  Above all, act - don't sit on your duff.  Problems do not go away  by being ignored. I read that somewhere on the Internet and we all know the Internet doesn't lie.

Improve yourself by checking out what the other LBCers have to say ion this topic:  Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, Padmum, Paul, Ramana, The Old Fossil and Will


  1. Brilliant Shackman. A post I entirely agree with and doubt that can improve on! The second sentence is to impress on my dislike of the word improvement. I prefer change and that other wonderful word that you have used, growth.

  2. Agree with both you and Ramana: I hate the word 'improvement'. It's so belittling. Growth - yes, learning - yes. Indeed change - if feasible.The only thing that should be 'proved' is bread.

    At moments when I try to stifle screams at those self proclaimed gurus who tell us how to lead our lives I feel like putting the sock in and write a book of recipes for them. HA! If you are game please do join me in my enterprise.

    Admittedly, I do have a weakness for those quaint sweeties who make a bomb out of telling me how to declutter and organise my sock drawer. Love it. Mainly because it doesn't tell me anything that I and anyone else do not know already. So terribly reassuring.

    Which only begs one question: Do you iron your underpants?


    1. That supposes I wear them. Ahem.

    2. What specific single malt are you on Mate? Your response is inspired!

    3. I start with Glenlivet and go up from there :)

  3. Once you follow the money (self-help, religion, politics) the bias starts appearing. I'm not against people making money, I just am leary of the means that those who succeed spectacularly follow. It seems that quite often they create a package that is not self helpful at all!

  4. More self serving actually. The downside of our capitalistic society IMHO is the rush to monetize everything. I'm not against making money either but...

  5. What I don't like about the self improvement industry is that they set a standard that isn't realistic. Models are bone thin. Have you ever noticed that there are rarely models with gray hair? Why aren't we allowed to let nature take it's course? Society sets a very high standard for how we must look. Now the latest thing is to run marathons. If you don't work out at a gym, and run marathons, you surely must be lazy. That's the message that society gives us. So I try to ignore the media and set my own standards. By and large, I stay away from the self help gimics.

  6. Sounds like I was not the only one who didn't like this topic.It makes me wonder why Ramana chose it if he does not like the word improvement.

  7. I like this post very much, You have defined it very simply for so I understand what you say, In this post your writing level is also excellent to us. This is great issue you have done on this topic really very well.SELF IMPROVEMENT

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