Me, my self-help and I - a Christmas lament
As we tumble towards the festive season, on the back of an interest rate hike, with a bleak Christmas predicted for both retailers and consumers, once again I find myself sinking into a Santa-induced depression.
I truly hate this time of year.
And once again I find myself seeking temporary relief from my woes in the pages of the self-help books hidden under my bed.
I say “temporary” because as a self-confessed self-help addict I’m yet to discover a book that delivers on its promise to provide lasting happiness.
I say “hidden” because it’s society’s expectation I hide porn mags beneath my bed, not poofy self-improvement workshopping manuals which only highlight my shortcomings as a knockabout Aussie bloke. Besides, I keep my porn mags hidden in the built-in.
Say goodbye to your money Australia. Tony Robbins - touring Oz in 2011
Over the past decade I’ve read all the self-help classics by authors including Carnegie, Carlson, Finley, Seligman and Chopra (remember, that’s Chopra not Chopper if you’re shopping at Borders).
Anyway, this year I decided to revisit one of the early works of superlative self-help guru, Anthony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within. And within 170 pages it dawned on me this 1991 international bestseller is a perfect bound pile of crap.
To give you an idea of the absurdity of this ‘classic’, on page 156 Anthony recommends that in order to change our neurological state, instead of going for a jog, we should go for a skip.
He explains: “1) It’s great exercise; 2) you’ll have less stress on your body than running; 3) you won’t be able to keep a serious look on your face; and 4) you’ll entertain everybody who’s driving by!”
Great advice, Tony. In my hometown of Wyong if I was to go skipping down the main street, I guarantee my skip would quickly morph into a panicked sprint as hoodlum gangs would feel compelled to pursue me and beat me to a pulp.
And I’ll share some more of Tony’s wisdom. He says, “Try something ridiculous with me for a second [as if the skipping routine isn’t ridiculous enough].
Pretend you are a rather bored and humourless symphony conductor rhythmically swinging your arms in and out. Do it s-l-o-w-l-y . don’t get too excited; just do it as a matter of routine and make sure your face reflects a state of boredom .
Now take your hands and, clap them together explosively, and SNAP them back out as fast as you can with a big silly grin on your face . adding the vocal movement of an outrageously loud and explosive sound - the movement of air through your chest, throat and mouth will change how you feel even more radically.”
I tried this in the bathroom last week and was almost caught by my wife. She rapped on the door and yelled, “What are you doing in there?”
I had to think quickly, so replied, “I’m er. masturbating.”
After pausing, she said, “You’re not doing any of that lunatic Anthony Robbins’ self-help rubbish again, are you?”
“No dear,” I replied. “I’m definitely masturbating.”
Apparently satisfied with that, she wandered off.
To cut a long story short, in the bathroom that day I had a rare moment of insight (I also had a wee, but that’s digressing): I realised the only ones changing their neurological, physiological and financial states as a result of these self-help books are the authors themselves - they’re giggling hysterically all the way to the bank.
In fact, according to Wikipedia, in 2006 the ‘self-improvement’ market was worth $9 billion dollars in the U.S. alone.
Me, I’m still poor. But at least now I’ve concluded that in the lead up to Christmas each year, in a sad, twisted kind of way, I derive happiness from being a miserable hard-to-live-with scumbag. And if not for my long-suffering wife and family who continue to put up with me, I should probably get used to it.
But out of consideration for them, my search for a long-term solution continues.
And that’s where you guys come in. Is anybody out there in Punch land now living his or her dreams as a result of the shared wisdom of a self-help salesman? If so, please let me know. Unlike Chopper, I’m all ears.
If I don’t hear from you beforehand, I hope you all have a merry bloody Christmas, you cheery bastards.
Incidentally, Tony Robbins is heading down under in March next year. Tickets are a steal, priced between $900 and $1800.
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