Thursday, April 5, 2012

The New Improved You

A very interesting blogger over at Older Eyes  has had a couple of posts in which the subject of self-help books were mentioned.   From reading Bud's blog, I can tell you he is not only a really good writer but a talented artist as well.

I used to be more of an "avid" reader but that has greatly decreased as my preponderance to sit my butt in front of a computer screen the better part of any given day has somewhat diminished the amount of actual "books" I read.  Don't get me wrong, I still buy a gazillion books with many of them being those that would be listed under the "self-help" genre. 

First of all, the category of "self-help" books needs to be divided into two distinctive categories.

The first category is the INSTRUCTIONAL books.  You know....books that are going to teach you something TANGIBLE.  A lot of these books look like this. I buy these books by the dozens.  I kid you not.  At any given time, I have 3 or 4 or more of them on my desk.  I devour these on all manner of topics.  These books are like popcorn that needs to be eaten. 

This by the way, leads me to two major conclusions about my life.

 A. I am a Dummy
 B. I am a Complete Idiot

It, also, by the way, has me questioning my total lack of ability on all manner of subjects, or really...why would I need to be constantly reading books telling me that I am both a dummy and an idiot.  I don't find this helpful.  Kinda counter intuative to the genre, SELF-HELP.

The second type of self-help book deals with "INTANGIBLE" instruction such as improving your attitude, alleviating your worries and generally working on your psyche. These are the type of self-help books that I was commenting on over at Older Eyes.  These are, also, the books, that I am suspicious of.

My tendency to not "buy into" the mass produced self-help book  of the intangible sort, became apparent a few years ago when the book Who Moved the Cheese came out.  It's not that I dont' think the book's parable with Sniff and Scurry and Hem and Haw wasn't clever enough but there was the niggling little thought that kept saying the people were over-reacting a bit.  I mean...REALLY...every corporation in America was having corporate seminars about little mice nibbling on cheese.

 At that time, I owned a corporate training company and one of the big communications firms, hired me for 8 weeks to develop seminars that ALL of their employees would be mandated to take on the subject of  "ACCEPTING CHANGE".  In their case, the seminars were a precursor to a giant layoff that was about to befall them.  I guess you can call losing your job a form of change, but even as great of trainer (**crickets**) as I am, it it hard to spin that as a positive. 

This "lack of enthusiasm" on my part,  continued when the company I worked for during the release of The Secret started having seminars where we were to work on our visualization of what we wanted in life.  Somehow it just didn't seem right that I was visualizing "not having to work there." Not to diminish thinking good thoughts,  I do believe in the power of positive thinking...I sense that some of you are surprised by this, and yes, I know that is not always evident.

As I am more than willing to try anything once, especially if thinking about it is easier than actually doing anything about it, I did in fact try thinking my way into being rich.  So far I have had minimal success.  According to the film, for those of you that haven't had the privilege, there is a guy that sits in his recliner and thinks great wonderful thoughts about getting a new car and low and behold he gets one.  As I recall the guy was unemployed at the time, which begs the question,  is he able to afford this car... but leave it to me to question the Law of Attraction.  It is a LAW after all.

So, to summarize:

I do think there are bits and pieces in self-help books that may be motivational BUT ( ya' saw that "but" coming, huh?) it is a bit of a challenge for an author to write a book in the genre of self-help unless he truly would have knowledge of the "self" that is reading it.

IN OTHER WORDS...I could (if I had any ability what-so-ever) write a book that would tell you that I can improve your happiness level by 100 percent by the end of business today.  That's right...I have the magic formula to  improve your self-esteem  by 100 percent.  Money Back guarantee!!!!

In my opinion (in most circles "my opinion" is rated  on par at the same level as dog poo) the major hurdle here with my upcoming book and those that are already mass marketed is....we aren't exactly sure of your level of [whatever the author is pushing].  As we/I don't know a damn thing about you, it is a little brazen of me to say I can improve, modify, enlighten any of your emotions.  Still, feel free to buy my book and I will give it a try. At least with my book the price is in direct proportion to the quality. Free...which is also, how I can offer the 100 percent money-back guarantee.

Sooooo....for the sake of trying to be a team player here, I am going to write a self-help post.  Well, actually, I am just going to give you a teaser of a self-help post.  For the rest of my wisdom, you will have to buy the book. 

So here goes...two things you can do to improve your self-esteem by 5:00.  You will look cooler and feel more self assured.
Number 1...Swimwear for winners.

For those of you that are ill at ease at the beach or pool...I am here to help.

For those of you out there that just are uncomfortable with modern swimwear, there is an alternative.   I know, I know, swimming suits can be  the single most crushing of the ego deflaters.   Clearly, even the most awesome bodies have a little jiggle here and there.

The solution...a wetsuit.  Why wear a revealing suit, when you can look super cool in a wetsuit?  Anyone that is questioning this fashion choice is quickly silenced with the ever useful line:

I AM IN TRAINING...this line is sure to impress and assuage any lingering doubts they might have.

Oh, you think wetsuits are too problem.

Cheaper fix.... SPANX.  Say it with me, people...spandex is our friend!!!!  That's right.  I know you think that Spanx is under-garment shaping but the black separates.  Together it will look like a wetsuit.  (Men, you can do this as well, just be careful not to get a top with a built in bra...well unless you need that) 

To further authenticate the look be sure to find you old YMCA swimming patch or wear a gold medal around your neck. 

Hey, are you in training????
You are now rockin' the beach!

Another tip that is sure to make you feel good about yourself.   Sunglasses!! Simple fix.  Everyone looks better in sunglasses. 

After reading a rather interesting article over at Newsvine, where someone going by the name of Werdoomed made the comment that people's attractiveness level drops between 10-70 percent when they take their sunglasses off. Frankly, I think Werdoomed is a genius. Truly, everyone looks way more attractive with sunglasses on. I do draw the line when people keep their shades on in dark rooms and at night as that is something else entirely. It's not about looking good as much as not looking like you are "under the influence" of something.

See, Joe COOL

Even non-cartoon dogs look cool in sunglasses

Little grandbabies look great in sunglasses



Maybe the pacifier with the Mr. Potato Head glasses isn't
cool but it is very cute from a grandparent's point of


OK, I am visualizing him in sunglasses.  See
I can visualize and he is still very cute.


Thechubbychatterbox said...

I find it amusing that employers pay money and force employees to go through these self-visualization techniques but, like you, I always visualized not working there. I finally used these techniques to get out, so I don't know what the point was for my employer...unless their goal was to get rid of me. Hmmnn...sneaky bastards!

meleahrebeccah said...

I'm on the same page as you!

A. I am a Dummy
B. I am a Complete Idiot

And, I agree with you 100%

"it is a bit of a challenge for an author to write a book in the genre of self-help unless he truly would have knowledge of the "self" that is reading it."


MOV said...

FUN post! but now my self-esteem is lower than ever due to the fact that I cannot find my younger son's potato head glasses........... maybe you can write a self-help post about finding lost items next.

I'll be waiting. In my swimsuit. With my spanx.


BobS said...

I just love your posts!! At my age I have given up going near a pool since nothing seems to be where it should be. Maybe I just need to give the ole' spandex a second look. Frankly I think it would take a full wetsuit to put things back where they belong.

As for the self-help stuff, I certainly tried more than my share. But, I discovered whenever I finished the book I was still stuck with the same head that convinced me that I could not do the things that counted. At one time I even had all those notes stuffed into my bathroom mirror telling me how great I was only to have the voices at night tell me how stupid I was. It doesn't work. Joining the same group that Older Eyes mentions changed all that. Talking it through with someone else and having a methodology that gives you the tools for change is the only thing that has worked for me. But, it also helps that most folks don't make the journey to that group until they are so exasperated that they are willing to try something different. And that is the key you don't get from a mandatory meeting.

I have also been through two separate corporate attempts to motivate employees to do better. But, it always seemed senior management thought they were OK and the problems of the organization were the workers. And the workers always saw it just the opposite. As you might imagine no change ensued. You just have to love corporate motivation seminars. Goodness knows Crosby (or Cosby) made a fortune from it.

I feel my "coolness" on the inside now; sunglasses not needed.

Again, one fabulous post. You made me think as well as laugh.

Cheryl P. said...

My guess is that they force those seminars on the begrudging employees so they can check the box "training and education". If you don't spend the money that is built into the budget for those, you don't get it built into next years budget. Crazy..

I am sure you were a valuable employee..right???

Cheryl P. said...

While I am 100 percent sure that you are neither an idiot or a dummy, you are a great blogger friend and we do seem to have a lot of similarties.

Cheryl P. said...

FUN comment! As funny and witty as you are your self-esteem should be in fine shape. I am sure PH's glasses will show up as all missing toy parts do, usually when someone steps on it. If not, little potato size sunglasses will make PH much cooler.

Cheryl P. said...

You couldn't like my posts any more than I like and appreciate your comments.

I have the same reaction to a lot of the intangible type of self-help books...that is I follow their little exercises all the while my doubting side is thinking it all is a bunch of hooey.

I do much better in a group of real people that interact and can be used as a sounding board. I am not too familiar with the group you and Bud refer to but I have joined some support groups for other reasons. Esp. groups that deal with loss or grief, it is the emotional support that makes the difference and books can't offer that.

After negotiating classes with corporations, their interests lie in substantiating "all they do for their employees". The bigger the company the less the individual person matters, I think. I, also, have seen a lot of management level people very naive to the feelings of the workers at large. Two very different perspectives.

I love that your feeling your coolness on the inside. My inner coolness fights my outer coolness. My inner young self can't believe that my outer self has gotten older. I am sure they will work it out.

I am so glad you found something to laugh at. I always mean things in a light hearted way when I write...well unless I am crabbing about something...but in most cases, it's meant to be light hearted. I am not sure that everyone reads it that way.

L.C. Griffith said...

Good morning my dear! You’re such an amazing writer. You had me laughing with this one. I can’t tell you how many how-to books I have purchased over the years. One time, many years ago, I decided to teach myself Hebrew, even though I’m neither Jewish nor was I planning a trip to Israel. I was simply curious about the way the letters looked and how they read from right to left. I somehow managed to teach myself the alphabet and how to read in Hebrew. With that said, I want to tell you that your cache of how-to books is simply evidence of your quest for knowledge. You’re smart…NOT A DUMMY!

I just bought a bathing suit and had you posted this blog last week I would have opted for the two-piece Spanx LOL!! I also love how sunglasses cover up my crow’s feet;)

I will be waiting for your book on self-esteem and happiness to come out. I really need both! LOL!!

Cheryl P. said...

Good morning, my dear blogging friend, Thank you for the kind words. I think you and I would have so much in common. I haven't tried learning Hebrew but I agree...isn't it interesting to see in print. I can't believe you learned the alphabet. It looks impossible. I have tried learning western European languages and there are enough similarities to English to make it doable. Not that I could ever converse in anything other than English...well technically American English, as I have a bit of a problem understanding the King's English) If my proficiency with English is evidenced by how I write....some might even question my literacy.

Great point about hiding the crow's feet. I may never again take off my sunglasses. Way cheaper than plastic surgery.

That fact you bought a new swim suit tells me you are a strong woman. (and I bet you wear it well) That act would have me crying and hiding under the covers for at least a week...maybe more.

meleahrebeccah said...

You're the best!

Nicky said...

I think, my dear, that with this post you have clearly and irrevocably demonstrated that:

1) You are nowhere near being a dummy
2) You are the complete opposite of an idiot

This was a really great post, Cheryl. Super funny. And the grandbabies at the end are adorable. Even with the Mr. Potato Head glasses :-)

Cheryl P. said...

Would you be willing to have that put in writing and notorized. I have people that might need proof.

Thanks, for the kind words. I do think that little G-Boy #2 with his pacifier was looking pretty sweet. At one year old, doesn't everyone.... but those glasses shoved on his little face was pretty funny.