Monday, June 5, 2017

Advice on Advice

I am a handyman. I love doing things with my hands.
I can fix a computer, do small repairs around the house or work on my car.
It gives me a certain satisfaction to see things done, to accomplish something with my own hands.

Many of my friends are not so handy when it comes to manual labor, although they are accomplished professionals in their fields.
They all wonder “How do you do that?”
I explain to them that the only difference between them and a handyman is the knowledge and the tools a handyman has and in the age of Google, Amazon and eBay, knowledge and tools are readily available to anyone.

Do you want to know how to work on your car? No Problem.
First, you need the technical manual for your car.
You go on Amazon put in the year and make of your car, and voila, you have all the knowledge you need at your fingertips. The manual will also tell you exactly what tools you need.
Of course, there is also the matter of experience and willingness, but that is a whole different story.

I also like to work on my self-development but that has been a much harder and less rewarding task than working on my car.
The problem is there is no technical manual for working on myself and also I don’t have access to any specialized tools or medication.

Of course there are a lot of self-help books out there but none written specifically for me.
And although I read hundreds of them I rarely found any useful advice in them.
They all are written by experts and full of miraculous examples of people that have overcome anything from obesity to anxiety and depression.  But to me, that’s just self-hype designed to sell the book.

I was in my doctor’s office waiting for my appointment and I picked up a couple of magazines that were lying around. In one of them, I found an article on how to spice up your romantic life,
I read it and it was a doozy.  I had so much fun and tried very hard not to burst out laughing.

All the self-help books make a lot of assumptions and generalizations.
All authors of self-help books believe everybody is the same, that everybody enjoys the same things and behave the same way. If they wouldn’t believe that they will not give the advice in the first place.
So the advice is basically what they would do or what works for them and that may or may not work for you.

A nice dinner, candle light and soft music may work for some but spanking, whips and chains also works for some. So which advice is right for you? That is an answer only you can answer.
My advice when it comes to self-help books is that you should never take the advice they give without thoroughly understanding the “how” and “why” it works.

I have a special ax to grind with the “wishful” thinking philosophy.
You know the one that states that if you believe in it, it will happen to you.
I don’t believe in it because I believe in the laws of cause and effect and to me to have something happening just because you visualize it happening is just a bunch of nonsense.

So listen to everyone but in the end take your own advice.

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