Created May 20, 2002, updated Sat. Jan. 29, 2005
But Are They
Good? The Critical
Importance of Knowledge and
So What Are The Problems?
The Importance of Control, the Illusion of Control
How Do We Get Knowledge?
The Error of Positive Thinking
Adjusting Expectations, Learning Contentment
The Greatest Asset Time
The Missing Element
The Psychology Problem Again
Another Way to Grandma's House?
But Are They
Importance of Knowledge and
They come in many shapes and sizes. They call themselves life coaches, motivators, mentors, teachers. They motivate people, instruct them, help give them guidance and support, help others to reason soundly, or see if they are reasoning soundly. These "coaches" of life are sometimes well known, even very famous.
A breed similar to them are these speakers, teachers, and writers who specialize in certain topics such as relationships, personal improvement, finding love, healing from mental, physical, or sexual abuse, or general psychology, parenting, positive thinking, achieving happiness and fulfillment, and other related fields. They tend to focus on strategies, methods, principles, theory, and the like.
Perhaps the very best known of the personal or life "coaches" is Tony Robbins. Well known for his infomercials as are many of these types, he has the ability to get people very excited and enthused about his program or something anyway. He can pack Madison Square Garden with paying and attentive followers.
There are others such as Zig Ziglar, and the grand daddy of them all, perhaps, Norman Vincent Peale.
Also growing in vast numbers are these motivational speakers, who
are paid to motivate employees, athletes, salesmen, and other similar
groups. They are organized into select groups that ensure a certain
level of quality in their skill as speakers and coaches. You could
call them the minor leaguers who hope to someday make the big leagues
and join the ranks of the biggest name in the business.
Well, compared to what? It has been my observation and opinion that they are far more effective than most psychologists. That's a start. But then again, what is that saying? Psychology has an almost 0% rate of effectiveness. Almost anything could match or beat that for a record. How much more effective are motivational people than psychology and why?
I am going to examine the "why" first. Psychology, in my opinion, always looks for something or someone for the patient to blame, or at least explain why they currently feel as they do. The blame game is convenient and does not require one to actually make a lot of changes. It just helps them to make sense of why they feel as they do. But it is dangerous and shaky ground to assume that you know exactly why someone feels as they do. It could be because of past abuse or it could be for any number of reason such as simple neglect, slight and undetected mental retardation, or any number of cumulative causes, any one of which would not be significant by itself.
But why we feel as we do is not that important. That is what Robbins would likely tell you. For whatever the reason, the inner voices and gut feelings we have inside us are not feeding us either accurate information or at least, useful information. Ignored by psychology is a possible suspect that seldom gets indicted. It could be that we just are not pursuing a course that would best suit and fulfill us so we are left with an empty feeling or a feeling that something is not quite right. Abuse or neglect may have nothing to do with it.
Motivators and coaches understand that we may not be doing things that make us feel like our lives have meaning, purpose, fulfillment, and joy. These are things that spiritual guides and motivators have long understood and preached about. Modern day motivators kind of preach a secular sort of spirituality. It is the wisdom of the spiritualists without the religious stuff to get in the way. Psychology, as best as I can discern, it starting to get on to this.
I was a big steady reader of Psychology Today through most of the 1980s and after its going through bankruptcy in 1990 or 91, they began a trend toward acknowledging healthy types of spirituality, not very religious in their scope, and covering their more sound aspects that help rather than hurt. They also seemed to embrace the new philosophy of "prophets" like Tony Robbins who believe that how we feel is not as important as what we do and what we believe about certain key issues. If one changes one's ideas and concepts, and changes their behavior, aligning themselves with their goals, after first deciding on some goals, they find the bad or inadequate empty feelings often disappear. In their place are people who know where they are going and what they want to accomplish and how best to get there. They now have a strategy and purpose.
What most people do not have when they are born and most parents to do not give them, is a goal or purpose in their life. Without a goal or purpose, we simply wander about aimlessly. Motivators and coaches and some of the better therapists and psychologists are realizing this and helping people to pick and choose their goals and direction and then helping them to fulfill those goals and choices. This is what I call good mental hygiene. In order to be effective, you must first know what it is your trying to accomplish. Only after that can you begin to figure out how to get there.
As the Cheshire Cat and Alice discussed in Lewis Carol's Alice in Wonderland: "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to walk from here? That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat. I don't much care where, said Alice. Then it doesn't matter which way you walk, said the Cat."
These modern gurus of life and learning have picked apart life's assumptions and wisdom and found many deficiencies. They have rethought these things and come to different conclusions than what many have clung too for far too long. They have understood our destructive or limiting behaviors and attitudes and asked us to consider another more effective way of thinking which in turn leads to changes in behavior. They have seen the need to rearrange our heads and what is in them. They have figured out that most of us need a good house cleaning up stairs in our philosophy, much of which we adopted without even thinking about it. They attempt, quite courageously, to get us to think about things we never bothered to think about before but should have.
What happened to us in the past does not prevent us from defining ourselves or making changes. Much of our suffering comes from our poor choices or from following a script we are not even aware of following. So these modern day prophets have come along to give us a mental bath, and baptizing us in wisdom and philosophy. For these reasons, they are accomplishing what many therapists have been unable to succeed in.
May therapists, though not willing to admit it, in my opinion, based on some experience I witnessed with my parents going to marriage counseling, as well as lots of reading and from the experience of other I have known who sought out therapy, is that therapists will tell patients what patients want to hear. Patients want to be reassured, reaffirmed, and made to feel better, but they usually do not want to get down to the bottom of why they feel bad or uncomfortable or not quite right. They are afraid of what they might find and actually try to avoid finding it. If a therapist tries to get them to confront what they are running from, they will run from him/her. So in order to keep the patient coming back for more at $75 to $150 an hour, they will tell the patients what they have come to hear, make them feel better for the moment, and keep them coming back for a weekly fix and sometimes emergency fixes, just as dope or sex addicts do.
So in this way the motivators and coaches outdo the therapists by
really getting more at the real problems and dealing with them. But
not all is well in paradise. While these coaches are much closer to
being or real help to people with their lives and troubles, they
still make some serious errors by missing or perhaps ignoring some of
the factors that contribute to people not being able to understand
what is blocking them and why they are not able to accomplish more
and feel better.
Problem 1 - The Real
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I see big problems with the new life coaches. First, though they preach a lot good things, they fail to acknowledge the same thing that psychologists often fail to recognize or recognize but do not want to admit or address. And that is that many who hear the message really don't want to fact certain things about themselves. There are things deep in their psyches that they are very afraid of and tend to want to avoid at any cost.
These motivators such as Robbins believe that if people can experience what they call a "breakthrough experience," and experience that helps them to understand that they have no limits and can accomplish anything they want to. I agree with the motivators that people do not have any real limits other than what they impose on themselves. But what they do not explain to people is that some are more gifted or advanced to begin with while others are very slow, got a poor start, or are not as talented. For this reason some will jump out in front of the pack and go like crazy whereas others will hardly seem like they are moving in comparison. They really are moving but their expectations are that they will move and advance as fast as the best and brightest. Its just not true.
If they are patient and diligent, they will start to see improvement over time. But it may not be anywhere as spectacular as the results that some will get. If they don't move as fast as these motivators have them believing and expecting, they get disappointed, discouraged, and give up. Others will be blocked by those hidden forces within themselves that have always been sabotaging them their whole lives. People have a fantastic capacity to deceive themselves and live in denial or in a fantasy world. Extreme forms of this are known as serious psychological disorders which they are. But many make the mistake of thinking that humans are basically rational, logical, analytical, thinking creatures.
This would be great if it were so. But one has to ignore a mountain of evidence to believe it. This is why psychologists have given the various disorders their names and have developed various "treatments" for them, although most are not really effective to any significant degree. What is missed are that while many if not most people do not qualify as having a serious psychological disorder, they all have enough blocks, disorder, and disillusions to seriously impede their efforts to get what they want in life.
They are being governed by their unconscious or subconscious as some call it, and are being led by this intuitive side and gut instinct which avoids conscious understanding of things it dislikes or fears. It is this common aspect of humans and it interferes with the logical analytical rational cerebral functions and reasonings. It will cause us to reason in unhealthy and unproductive ways. Overcoming it takes far more than a so called breakthrough event. It will take a mountain of courage to enable us to look at ourselves honestly and find things about ourselves that we may not like or even be disgusted with and which have been holding us back severely. Some would rather face a den of lions or jump from a tall building than to face what is inside them.
Life coaches have believed that overcoming fears by doing things thought unimaginable such as walking over hot coals and not getting your feet burned would help people to realize that they can overcome other fears and unblock themselves. But they underestimate how serious these fears and hang ups are. Walking on fiery coals can be a walk in the park compared to dealing with our inner selves and our deepest darkest aspects. Anything in the world would be preferable to that. It is always interesting to see some of these reality type shows and see when some will just refuse to try something, no matter what the incentive or motivation. Some give up because of fear, others because of exhaustion, or something else. But these fears can be quite mild compared to what else they may be running from inside. There is no amount of reasoning that can ever overcome what they do not want to see or realize.
This is the factor that keeps people from ever realizing their potential or overcoming things that keep them from finding happiness and contentment. Why do the great life coaches not tell people about this? Either they don't know about it or they don't want to tell people that because it might discourage them from attending seminars or buying expensive packages that are said to be able to help them. To me, what they sell is hope or temporary enthusiasm and an emotional high.
It has come to be my belief that most people, though quite capable as far as having the brain capacity and innate ability to overcome themselves and their subconscious and make great progress and achieve great accomplishments, most will never do so and maybe be incapable of doing so. Those who accomplish great things are rare. They are unusual and outstanding. Truly great or talented people will usually not need motivators and coaches for much of their success. Whether by instinct or by conscious will, they will manage to make sense of things and guide themselves for the most part. Some will just do instinctively what most can not even understand consciously. Some are lucky to have been born with the right natural instinct.
What men like Tony Robbins have done is to give conscious thought to what it is that some seem to know instinctively and define it analytically so that it can be understood and applied by those who are able to be guided by their intellectual rational thinking side, although such types will usually have figured out quite a bit to begin with. But with Robbins or others help, they will fill in the few missing pieces to make them even better.
Further, it is always helpful to have others who may be able to
see some things that you may be blind to but are willing to see if
they can be shown and pointed out. Sports coaches are very valuable
because of the insights they can have into an athlete's personality
and techniques they the athlete himself may not be realizing. But
most athletes do not achieve the highest levels of sport. Only a few
reach that. Many will not have quite the inclination and raw material
to work with that the special few will have been blessed with. And
then there is always that very limiting factor of time.
In addition to not knowing or admitting the common block that will keep most people from enjoying the results promised by these positive preachers of improvement, most motivating types will sell you on the money aspects of self improvement. Most people want to sell more or get promoted and make a lot more money. I sincerely believe that if this in the only goal in your life, you will fail. Introducing money is the corrupting and polluting factor that will sabotage many people's efforts to achieve true lasting contentment and happiness. It is the restless sort who can never be satisfied or content who are obsessed with money and never make enough. They will keep on making more and more. They view it as a big monopoly game and want to win. They will never know contentment or peace.
Motivators know there is nothing like the hope of riches and wealth to motivate people. It definitely can motivate. But it could be said that many of your worst criminals and despots had plenty of motivation, if only to kill or increase power or wealth. Motivation is all that greedy corporations are interested in. But ironically, money can often sabotage happiness and contentment, it can even hinder accomplishment and success. It can produce some people you won't like very much. It is the great swindle that motivators put over on people to get money from them. You can't sell true happiness. Its not that popular or desirable. Most people think everything is tied up in money and that is the great lie.
I want to quote a motivational speaker I read about by a Los Angeles Times writer by the name of Bonnie Harris. She wrote about a motivational speaker named Michael J. Herman. Here is a quote from Herman: "My mother keeps asking me when I'm going to get a real job but I know the money's there. I'm on the brink of it, I just know it."
Herman's goal is very apparent. It is the same goal he holds out to others. Get money and you will be successful and happy. He wants money, big money. And eventually, he may get it and I will explore that more later. But when money is the goal, other goals will be compromised in favor of money. One of those goals is the real winning formula for happiness and success. And happiness and success are not based on money but on finding real satisfaction in your life with purpose and meaning. Being happy and please with who you are and what you have become and being able to accomplish what you set out to do. Just being effective is a great feeling. You can make plenty of money without being effective. Many people sell out to corruption and are rewarded with money. It does not necessarily require great ability to get money. It helps but there are other ways to get it.
They sell their message down the drain when money is the
While most life coaches and motivators claim to make people successful by showing them how to do things, that really isn't what their seminars are about. Because money is the real goal of motivators as it is with therapists, they don't really sell a product that people don't want, such as the hard bitter truth about why they are not happy. Instead they sell them exactly what they are really shopping and looking for, a quick easy fix, and emotional high, a temporary escape just like the guy on the therapist's couch wants. When you attend a Tony Robbins seminar or meet someone who has, what do you discover? I have found that they loved the emotional high, and the belief in themselves that it gives them, at least for a short while. They usually have gone to more than one seminar and will likely go back for more in time.
What is it they keep going back for? Didn't they get the message the first time? Haven't they used and applied it and turned their lives around? Well, to be honest, no. They are no richer, no happier, no better of and struggling just as hard in life. What happened? Well, what they went to get and got, was the reassurance that the guy seeking therapy also wanted. The fix, the high, the incredible sensation and boost that lets them go on a little longer. It is the behavior of an addict or a perpetual patient of psychotherapy. You also see the same thing in many charismatic churches. People love the intense emotional high provided by the preacher and the atmosphere in the church gathering.
Though they preach philosophy, rhetoric, and a better way of thinking about things, the real magic is the euphoric high, the fix! The rhetoric and wisdom, while much of it very good, is not really what they are about. The collection of wisdom is flawed and compromised by other things. It would not produce that fix or high that the customer is really looking for. Or maybe the customer is looking for wisdom and solutions. But if you give him the real deal, he may not be back for more. I am not saying that motivators deliberately sell a crippled package, but given the motivation for money, it is at least possible that they may not be seeing the whole picture and do not want to see it. It would not yield nearly as good a profit as the compromised message and package does.
People like to get their ears tickled. They like emotional thrills. They don't like the hard work and vigilance it takes to make personal inspection of one's self and the maintenance of mental hygiene that comes with true happiness, effectiveness, and success. They want to believe in themselves and feel good about themselves and Robbins can do that at his seminars. But it does not last because they don't take the real steps of labor that will give them good reason to believe in themselves. Reasons that will last and be permanent. Jesus spoke of water that you would never need to drink again if you had it. He was speaking figuratively, of course. But he was referring to things of the spirit, which if "drank," would last forever. You would not need to drink again. It is like that with good mental and moral hygiene. Once done, you don't have to bother again. You just need to maintain the cleanliness that you have started. But you won't require someone to pump you up all the time. Or put another way, if you give a man a fish (or a high, a fix), you will feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish (or how to get high), you feed him for life. I will get more into the deficiencies of their ideas later.
These inspirational speakers often do teach many good things. But
they don't emphasize them as they do not give the high in the short
term. They will if you truly apply the techniques over time, but they
will not get people excited on site at your seminar and keep them
coming back for more.
What a lot of success comes from is applying yourself, not being afraid of effort, having lots of personal courage to look at yourself and find bad, and making proper use of your time. On top of this, I believe anyone is selling you short if they promote happiness and success without including God and religion. Not the organized religion which is anything but good mental hygiene, but the kind you would get from personal pursuit and understanding. To build any set of thoughts on a false pretense or an error is to sabotage your whole goal and mission. Each premise or building block must be set on a solid foundation. To tell people they can buy and use half the package and expect a good return is to lie.
Courage! Remember the Wizard of Oz? Dorothy encountered 3 characters who wanted to see the wizard to see if he could help them. There was the Scarecrow who wanted a brain. The Tin Man who wanted a heart. And the Lion who wanted courage. So who was the smartest of the 3? It was the Lion, of course. Why the Lion? Well, wisdom and heart or compassion both proceed from courage. It takes courage to be able to look at one's self and find fault and to make the decision to change themselves. It take courage to see truth or righteousness when everything and everyone around them pursues evil and lies. It takes courage to be compassionate when those over you demand cruelty.
We live in a harsh world that does not respect truth, honor, righteousness, decency, or compassion. To seek out those things and embrace them takes a mountain of courage. To pursue wisdom is a moral virtue. Most miss that. Truth is the objective pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, regardless of how it impacts your own behavior and desires. It pursues the greater good of all. For these inspirational and motivational speakers to tell you that, they would have to give up any dreams of being popular and would have to give concern to being ridiculed or even persecuted. So if money is the goal, complete truth and accuracy are not likely to follow. To forsake money and pursue truth would take a great deal of personal courage and virtue. Courage is the greatest virtue of all.
Besides that, for those who preach success, motivation, competency, and the like, they should be sharing with you as much of what they have learned in regards to knowledge, understanding, skills, techniques, etc. But they usually avoid any specifics. That could get kind of dangerous. So they avoid it and help you to avoid it, too. Some know that telling truth could get them and you in trouble. But if they don't tell you, you could end up wasting your time and getting in trouble, anyway.
Effort! Real success requires real effort. To become successful in business and money also requires great effort as well as a lack of morals. They don't bother to tell you that at their seminars. But regardless of what it is you undertake to do, it will no doubt require great effort in order to be a success at it. Hard work, dedication, a long term view and expectation of things, many of which they admit. But really, success depends almost exclusively on effort and work. Some give the impression that you don't have to work that hard to improve and succeed. Well, I do concede that people often confuse working hard with working effectively. But being effective will require time and effort. And it won't come free and easy. The struggle will not be in the effort but will come from the world around you who may resist what you are doing and try to get in your way and block you.
If these motivational trainers were to tell you it was nothing but hard work, effort and struggle, you might reject what they have to say. But there is great satisfaction that comes from achievement of hard work and effort, the success you have been working for. You can not get to the Olympics and win the gold without very hard work, training all the time, and pushing yourself to your very limits of endurance, both physically and mentally. Good coaches will often seem mean to those who are not athletes. But those coaches know that you can not make it to the top without pushing yourself almost beyond what you can endure. Coaches know that great athletes can tend to go easy on themselves because athletics had generally came easy to them. They often breezed past opponents coming up through the ranks. But when you get to the highest levels, it is not a breeze any longer. You will be tried to your limits. Coaches will be pushy and push you hard. They are doint their job. They are letting you know what it is going to take. The good coaches are going to tell you what you do not want to hear and will make you do what you do not want to do. The great athletes will understand and do it.
The reason great coaches can do that is because the athlete wants
the victory so bad that they will not kid themselves or lie to
themselves about what it is they want or what it will take to get it.
It tends to produce one of the most honest examinations of one's self
that you will ever witness. It is the result that we need to obtain
in other aspects of life. They will be just as hard and test us to
our very limits. A good coach will not spare you punches. He will
give it to you straight and hard. That is what you are paying him
for, right? Good coaches are expected to produce good results or no
one will bother to hire them. So they do what it takes to produce
good results. They push and demand of you. Most people resist such
coaching. They are not serious about what they want and don't realize
what it takes to get what they want. So someone substitutes for the
good coach and tells them they can do it without the hard work and
strain. They are lying or misled themselves and are telling the
people what they want hear, not what they need to hear. Good coaches
don't do that or they will ruin their credibility.
Inspirational speakers and coaches will often have lots of successful people on their infomercials. The successful and famous people will talk about how great the program being sold is and how those techniques got them to the top. Yes, the techniques they often recommend are good and did get them to the top. But they did not start out with that program. It is just that they recognize and admit many of its useful points. But some of those points may not be effective while others are. I will get into that soon. But again, the hard work is often not emphasized. Also neglected is that many successful athletes and others had supportive stable homes and parents, who also had enough money to support their kids in what they wanted to do. It is easy to succeed at what you try to do when you have financial backing so you can concentrate on what you are tying to do without distraction. It is also helpful when your parents can afford the camps and coaches who will further instruct you, encourage and support you. Your family will also reinforce and encourage you. See what can happen when you have lots of help and support? These are all conveniently left out of the formula that these gurus will preach to you.
So it is more than a little dishonest to suggest that some program or regimen will take you to the top like the big stars when you don't have half of what they had and at the young ages they started at when your brain and body worked much better and faster. The truth is, I doubt if there is anyone who was going nowhere and then came upon one of these motivational programs and then suddenly rose to the top. Oh, we might hear of people who did the program and increased their sales by 30% the next year or something like that. But whether that was due to the program or some other lucky coincidence is hard to say.
But in the people I have met who have been through Robbins seminars, they are struggling as much as ever and didn't seem to have increased in wisdom at all. In fact, I couldn't discern that they even knew where they were going with their lives or what they were shooting for. I couldn't really discern any impact on their lives at all. But they certainly were enthusiastic about his seminars. So if I judge a program's effectiveness by what it produces, I have to say I am not impressed. There certainly may be people who have been helped by these programs. Even the people I met may have been helped at times in ways not apparent to me. But it was clear that there was also much that was lacking. If they had really got and understood the message that Robbins had presented, they should have had much more to show for themselves.
This is not necessarily the fault of Tony Robbins at all. I have
read 2 of his books and believe that if people really applied half of
what he wrote or preaches, they would do well. But his message is not
the ultimate. There is plenty of room for improvement. And the
message may not be getting home to people because they are given a
watered down glossy message that lacks the blunt forcefulness that
may be required, though not welcomed. So the results Mr. Robbins may
get may not be enough to recommend him as a coach to those who want
to achieve the ultimate in success and accomplishment, the gold, if
Make no mistake about it. Tony Robbins preaches the value of knowledge. He absolutely does. But what I fault him on is that I get the impression that he does not emphasize it nearly enough in importance, compared to other things he points to. But I will tell you that knowledge is power and knowledge is everything. It is the real key to achievement and success. Find any man who rose in riches, power, accomplishment, or success, and I will show you a person with knowledge. How do scientists distinguish themselves? With knowledge! What is it athletes often employ against opponents to win? Strategy which is knowledge! What does any army do when trying to overcome an opposing army? They gather as much reconnaissance as possible. Through spies, through scouts, through planes and satellites, and any other means possible. Reconnaissance is nothing more than knowledge. Knowledge of your enemies, their tactics, their weapons, the land and terrain around the potential battle field. The more knowledge they have, the better a battle plan they can put together and the more like they are to win the battle. With no knowledge, they are likely to lose.
Knowledge isn't everything. It's the only thing. Want to run a successful company? You need knowledge and lots of it! About people, about the process, about the products, about marketing, about customers, about employees, about vendors, about shippers and trucking, about finance, about competitors, about so many things to numerous to mention. But if you know a lot about all those things, you are most likely to be successful.
Want to be a great athlete? There is all sorts of knowledge, skill, and strategy to learn. A great athlete knows what to do! He has learned. Yes, he has acquired skill and conditioning through training, and they are important. But it will almost always come down to who is smarter on the field. Much of skill is merely applied knowledge.
What to be a master of a trade or hobby? It will be knowledge and skill (developed and applied knowledge) that will make you great and enable you to accomplish what you want in the area.
I don't care what it is or where, it will always be knowledge, wisdom (properly applied and used knowledge), and understanding that will enable accomplishment, achievement, success, victory, and the like. And true satisfaction and happiness comes through being able to accomplish and fulfill what we set out to do. There is a tremendous amount of contentment, satisfaction, even great joy and pleasure that can come from that feeling of competence and skill. Knowing you can accomplish whatever you want and be super competent at it is one of the greatest highs attainable.
When you walk into a debate, you have the supreme confidence that you can hold you own because you have done your homework, your reconnaissance, you are prepared and capable. You fear nothing and you are not nervous. You are in the driver's seat. Your in control.
When you step on to the playing field and you have prepared well,
much better than your competition, and you know it, then you are
relaxed and confident. You know the situation and you have nothing to
fear. You are in control.
It is all about control. Why is a rape such a traumatic experience for a woman or even for a man, for that matter? Because when we are raped, we lose control over the thing most important to us, our bodies. That loss of control, even of our bodies and our ability and right to choose, destroys us inside. It can scar us for life, and even make some suicidal.
Many kids grow up in a home where there is little or no love. Maybe one or both of the parents are also unreliable, undependable, even unpredictable and dangerous. This can give a child a feeling of having no control over their lives. This can be devastating and can leave a child scarred and crippled for life. They may spend the rest of their lives in fear of losing control. Or they may try to overcompensate and constantly pursue control of every circumstance in their lives and try to control others, too.
Sigmund Freud thought that much of our psyche was geared around our sexual identity. I think he might have missed another important aspect that governs much of our lives and energy. And that is trying to get control over our lives. We all desperately long for and struggle to obtain and get control over our circumstances. It is a prime motivator for us all. But we often pursue it in ways that prove to be elusive.
What is interesting is how devastating, debilitating, and destructive the lack of control in our lives can be. It can cause depression, both minor and major. It can lead to even worse disorders of the mind and spirit. People will even become psychotic or develop multiple slit personalities in order to cope with the lack of control in their lives. We are creatures of control, competence, and effectiveness.
Ever notice how a good quarterback in football hate to be on the bench. He is still getting paid but that does not matter. He wants to exercise his skill, ability, and competence. He also wants to contribute his abilities and gain the respect of his teammates and others, too. But part of it is wanting to use what he has and show and feel his effectiveness. It gives him that sense of ability, competence, and control.
Control is a major part of our lives. The more we have the more we want. There are few feelings in the world that give as much of a high. Drugs can often give us the euphoric feelings that control can also give. But the drugs don't last long and neither do false motivators, or anything else that is not the real thing. So by pursuing an abundance of knowledge and skill, we can gain a good deal of control and the feelings and highs that come with having that control. But we must be aware that it can become like a drug that can cause us to behave like addicts who can never get enough. Then obtaining a certain measure of control can be for nothing. We must learn to balance it and keep it under control. It is like driving a fast car. Its lot of power and speed but if we misuse it, we could end up in an accident and dead.
We could get carried away with arrogance or conceit. We might make the mistake of thinking we are better than others because of our superior skills or knowledge. There are so many ways we can sabotage or ruin our success and accomplishments if we do not proceed with caution and care.
The biggest problem with control is that it is very much an illusion. We can gain lots of knowledge and skill, but there are many factors we will never be able to influence or control. We can't control everyone and everything around us. There are many things we have no control over. Many things will be beyond our ability to foresee or account for. Ultimately, we will have to contend with a good deal things we will not be able to control. It will not be a pleasant feeling. It is never a pleasant feeling. It is always something we will want to avoid. But we should never go so far to avoid it that we walk off into psychosis, often called La La Land. The key to success and survival is learning how to cope with success as well as loss and adversity. Robbins does teach that. But I am not sure if it gets enough attention or not.
But life will have its fair share of adversity and loss. You can count on it. It is as certain as death and taxes or the sun rising the next day. It is every bit as important to gain knowledge and skill and dealing with adversity and loss as it is with anything else. You can choose what you want to pursue, but you will not be able to choose whether you deal with adversity or not. You definitely will. How you deal with it will determine your success or failure rate. Again, let me emphasize, it is knowledge that will enable you to take on adversity. Knowledge is power and is everything.
Most of the other tactics and strategies the gurus will recommend
pale in comparison the importance and effectiveness of knowledge and
Most people are used to gaining knowledge by taking lessons or going to a school. Those ways can work. But often times, they will not be enough for a pursuit like business. Learning about people will be as important as knowing about business skills. Of course, you could take psychology, too. But both of those will cost money and take lots of time. If you are already busy earning a living, supporting yourself and maybe others, too, you may not have those luxuries. Maybe you weren't born with the silver spoon in your mouth. You didn't have the rich, intelligent, and supportive parents that some are blessed with. You have to do it all for yourself. Well, I am happy to report that you can still do it. But it will take a lot longer. You will be a late bloomer, the dark horse in the race. But better to win late than never at all.
But if you understand that no one can fail, you are more apt to try. Explain to me, how do babies learn a language? Do they take lessons? Not formal ones! Do they go to school. Not a formal school! Then how do they learn? The truth is, their brains do it all for them. The brain manages to sense patterns and process them into an intelligible piece of useable knowledge. It can deduce patterns and process them for you. You really don't have to a thing to learn. It all happens by instinct and nature. Your parents are you teachers and instructors. You learn by being exposed to them and their language. Your brain makes out the patterns and you begin to exercise you vocal cords until you can replicate the sounds and begin to communicate back.
It is much the same way with any other type of learning. You expose yourself to the field or topic that you want to learn and eventually, it will all start making sense. You start with the most simple things you can and work up. Sometimes there are some things you may not quite understand. Don't worry about it. Keep on reading or learning other things about the topic or field, eventually, it will all become clear with time. Suddenly, one day, it will become clear to you. Often, if you are thinking about something, and are stumped by it, you can go to sleep and in the morning or several mornings later, the answer will be waiting for you at the top of your head, so to speak. When you feel it happen, it can be an amazing experience to have it happen.
Many people shy away from any physical athletic activity because they do not believe they can do it because when they were young, they did not progress and remain competitive with the other kids. So they withdrew and stopped trying. Their mistake was in thinking they could not do it. They could and can, but they may advance much slower than another. How fast you go is not important. Eventually, the skilled kids, now adults, only go so far and then they reach a plateau where they advance no further. If you keep trying, you will eventually catch up. You got discouraged because you did not progress rapidly. You were trying to be immediately competitive. Your outlook was wrong. Had you realized what I am telling you, maybe you would have kept trying so as to eventually catch up somewhere down the road. Most parents are unaware and so do not help the kids to realize how it all works.
But regardless of the field or topic, even complex sciences, can all be understood and learned by anyone if they are willing to try. But they need to understand that it is just a matter of pointing your brain in the direction you want to go and obtaining anything you can about that subject. Asking around, reading about the subject in books or magazines will help. The more you read, the better. Reading will likely be the key. There are TV programs or videos that can sometimes be viewed. But the more you expose yourself to information, the more you will learn. You will not be able to avoid it.
The only danger is in putting time limits or expectations on yourself. Not everyone is a fast learner. This is a principle that takes faith. You have to believe that your brain is capable. You have the proof for that is you are able to speak now. Knowing what your brain can do, you only have to decide what it is you want to do and why.
Robbins was good in helping people to understand some ways that you might pick others brains. But reading a book written by knowledgeable people will be much more available than the actual people whose brains you want to pick. But by completely and repeatedly exposing yourself to a topic will get you the knowledge. There is no doubt about that!
As regards athletics, the more you expose yourself to the experience by trying, the more your body will grow, and your brain cells will respond and develop more neural pathways and networks to help you coordinate your body. The body and brain respond to stimulation. The more you stimulate and expose them to things, the more they will grow and adapt to the stimuli, giving you more strength, coordination, and skill. It is an automatic process that can not be stopped. If you immerse yourself in something, you will adapt to it and become knowledgeable and skilled.
Robins often talks about posture, mannerisms and mirroring others or studying them. He will talk about outlook and attitude which are important. But if you pursue knowledge, you will not have to sorry about mirroring or imitating. What proceeds out of you will be automatic and natural. You will automatically feel and come across as confident, poised, in control, and inspiring.
Confidence proceeds from knowledge, skill, and certainty. We only lack confidence when we are not sure or are in doubt. And that might be a good thing. It lets you know that you have yet to reach the level of knowledge you need. More knowledge needs to be had to where you can reasonably feel assured about where you stand and what you are doing. When you become certain, you will feel and act confidently. You won't have to act or pose like you were confident. You will be and it will show.
The other danger is in thinking you know it all when you have only learned a few things. We call this conceit, an exaggeration or distortion of our own knowledge or ability. It can happen easy. To be fairly sure of what you have, you need to continually put up your knowledge or skill against that of others. You need to constantly seek out more of the same knowledge and skill, always trying to push and extend the limits of what you know and do. If you continually put your knowledge on the line and test it, and nothing seems to be able to undo or refute it, then you have a pretty good indication of its strength and soundness. You can be reasonably assured of its usefulness. This is why an honest accurate appraisal of what you have done or know is so important. Overestimate, and you lose. Underestimate, and you never try.
Mirroring, gesturing, posing, acting; those are for fakes and
phonies. The real deal is when you get real knowledge and the real
power that results from that. Go for the real deal and leave the
phonies in the dust. Acting is great until someone calls your bluff.
But when your packing the real thing, you look forward to someone
calling your bluff because you know you are not really bluffing at
all. Leave acting to actors. You want the gold, remember? Go for the
gold! Go for as much knowledge as you can stand. And you can never
Ever since the great grand daddy of positive thinking came along, Norman Vincent Peale, the prophets of the sacred church of self improvement have been preaching the message of eternal optimism. And why not! It's a great money maker. But is it right? I think not. Listen, the most important thing you can seek is knowledge, right? What type of knowledge? Surely not false knowledge, misleading knowledge, or deceitful knowledge! What good would that be? What good would false information be to a general? An athlete? A scientist or engineer? Really, information needs to be very accurate and precise, as much as possible. And that includes information about your self. All the knowledge and information you have needs to be accurate and reliable. Don't you hate it when someone lies to you? So why would you want to lie to yourself? Yet we often do. But it is ourselves we hurt when we do so.
We need to be courageous to be honest and we need to be honest to be accurate and we need to be accurate in order to be effective and we need to be effective to be happy. Happiness is the goal, right? So we need realistic honest feedback and information. Optimism is not necessarily honest reliable feedback. Outlooks are not always bright and rosy. Certain prospects can be very bleak and ominous. That is the reality of a situation sometimes. To need to see everything as positive, sun shiny, and happiness all the time is a sign of poor mental hygiene and great weakness. It indicates that for whatever the reason, we have become unable to cope with anything negative in our lives. Remember that I said that learning to cope with adversity and negativity would be a skill needed to succeed and overcome obstacles.
If a situation is gloomy, it may be telling us something. If it is a business prospect, maybe we should avoid it. If it is a problem in our life, maybe we need to confront it and deal with it, finding a way to cope or solve it. Maybe we need to just go around it or find another way. But clearly and accurately seeing what is ahead is essential in order to guide ourselves correctly and take the appropriate action. It negative things get us down, we have to find out why. It may be that we see the obstacle as insurmountable. Maybe we don't believe we can handle it. Why not? What are we missing? We need to find out what and get it or learn it. Is it too much money? Maybe there is another way to obtain it. But it is likely that we see the problem as too big. It is not too big. If one applies one's self to learning, one can overcome many things. If it is, maybe we need to take a different direction so that we don't have to deal with it.
But people who believe that a problem can not be dealt with in any way or means are people not thinking or opening their eyes. There are usually a number of different options. Maybe they are not what we would prefer, but we can't always control everything and have everything that we want. But we can do well and thrive if we will work with what we can not control and be willing to take what we can get. Great minds will be flexible minds. If a company if failing, maybe it is time to get into another business, pursue another direction. Optimism can often lead to doom. The old stick your head in the sand and hope things will get better is just plain stupid. That may only guarantee your failure.
Now negative pessimism and paranoia are just as destructive and
dangerous as optimism. They are both signs of bad mental hygiene.
Taken to their extreme, they can lead to delusion and psychosis. We
want to be as close to perfect mental health and hygiene as is
possible. That means having our legs firmly planted in reality,
seeing things just as they are, in all their ugliness if that is the
case. That way we can avoid disaster.
There is an interesting contrast between well known famous spiritual guides and preachers and the secular guides of wisdom and accomplishment. Some spiritual guides will recommend that we not worry about accomplishing great things or being someone big, important, or famous. They believe we should be content with who we are. Well, if we are good, that is fine. But what if we are not. Self acceptance is only appropriate if we have done things to make us worthy of that self approval. But if we are doing bad, we do not deserve it. But given that we are good and deserve or merit self approval and acceptance, then maybe being content with who we are is good. Contentment is an important thing to learn.
Many people are driven, often without even thinking about it. They are never content with money, no matter how much they get. They will not be content with a good wife or husband. They will not be sexually satisfied, no matter how much sex they have or get. They may always be drinking or doing drugs, never content to be sober or straight. Maybe they have wander lust and are always wanting to travel, ever restless and looking for something new. In so many ways, people constantly seek something that they never seem to get enough of. They do not appear to be capable of being satisfied or fulfilled and are always on the prowl.
So spiritual guides are correct when they teach and preach the art of finding peace, fulfillment, and contentment, that soundness of mind, and tranquility that permeates their existence. They are right, we all need that. But sometimes they confuse that with not trying or wanting to be more effective, more competent, more successful at accomplishing what we want, even if that is just learning peace and contentment. They imagine that any sort of pursuit of efficiency and effectiveness is indicative of a lack of contentment. It is not. It is the pursuit of knowledge which even they tend to recommend at times.
On the other hand, the improvement gurus tend to ignore the contentment thing just as the spiritualists ignore the competence thing. We do not need to be rich or famous. But when we try to do something, we should want to be successful at doing it. It doesn't have to be big. We don't have to impress others or win over their approval. But we still want to be able to be functional and competent in whatever we do, otherwise, we would always be failing at everything, always getting fired, going broke, getting into accidents, etc. So being competent and capable is a good thing and not a bad thing.
There needs to be a harmonious blend between the two perspectives.
They are both important to learn. One without the other will lead to
imbalance and loss of effectiveness.
Time management will likely be the most important skill you can learn and use. Our brains will respond to stimulation. If we try to understand something, we will eventually achieve that understanding with time, continual pursuit, and patience. But the more time and effort we give, up to a certain point, the quicker we are apt to get that understanding or achieve what it is we want to do. But we only have so much time in a day. I know there is a book in existence that claims that all successful people learn to manage time and that it is the key to success and achievement. I heartily agree with that idea. The trick is to make better, more efficient use of the time we have and also to make more use of wasted empty time.
Ever wait in a long line? At the post office, motor vehicle, movie theater, restaurant, or some place like that? You might waste 5, 15 or even 30 minutes at such places. How about at the laundry mat or doing laundry at home? There is more time waiting. The trick is to anticipate dead times like those and bring along something to read that will help you advance you and your goals. Reading can bring knowledge if you read the right things and knowledge will bring power and ability. There are all sorts of books about various aspects of business and nearly any field you might have an interest in. Even without a book, you might be able to strike up a conversation and learn more about people and what they do. Even knowledge that you are not specifically looking for, can come in handy and be useful. I never throw away of ignore extra knowledge.
But there are so many places where we have a few spare minutes. Just 2 or 3 minutes are all it takes to read a few paragraphs or maybe even a page, from a book or magazine. A few paragraphs may give you something to think about at other times. It may be a key piece of knowledge that completes or builds an understanding that gets you on your way to where you want to go. There are so many places where we get a few minutes here or there. When you add them all up, you end up getting through chapters and books in those few free minutes here and there. Many people spend a lot of time socializing and some people need that. But if you use your free time to read and learn, you will move ahead and be closer to where you want to go. There will be plenty of times to socialize. But go for quality socialization with those you really care about and leave the free time to learn.
I use to go through more magazines and books just by using free time at breaks at work and other areas. Now I don't have as much free time but what I do have I use.
Then there is learning to do several things at once and planning better. Rather than make 3 different trip to areas near each other, if you plan right, you might be able to do all there at once, saving mileage as well as time. In addition, there is making an accounting of time that we are not doing important or useful things and take that time to do more useful things. Maybe talking and gossiping with others at break time at work is fun. But how necessary is it? Are you trying to socialize to climb the company ladder? Then maybe that break time is important. But if not, maybe you could better use that time to read of do an errand. Maybe you spend a lot of time watching TV, playing music, video games or whatever. Some or a lot of that time might be better used reading or practicing something useful. So we want to take inventory of what we do and why we do it and see if there is someplace that we can extract more time to do more advantageous activities in our behalf and of our future.
I do realize that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Play
is important and I don't want you to think otherwise or start feeling
guilty about wasting time. But if you do have something worth doing
and accomplishing, you might want to examine how badly you want to
accomplish it and how fast. It could be that you might want to
sacrifice some other things to do it. But most people are totally
careless and thoughtless as to how they spend time. Most are not
aware of the time they are throwing away and not using. Just knowing
that extra time is there and can be used helps. It is another option
we can consider and use to our benefit. It is a technique employed by
those who got lots of things they want to accomplish. If that is you,
then here you go.
That would be God and religion. When one pursues knowledge, ultimately, and choosing a purpose or goal in your life, it could come down to whether there is a God or not. And the inevitable question of how you got here and why, comes up, too. Is there a purpose or reason for your existence? Or are you here for no reason at all? Is there a purpose to life? Or can you just make up whatever you want. Its up to you but in our quest for knowledge, we will have to decide what is or is not the truth and what is right. That is hard to tell, sometimes. But the closer we are to the truth, the more successful we are apt to be. If there is not God, it probably does not matter. But if there is, it could make a huge difference in many things. For one, depending on what you believe about God, you might be very successful or fall flat on your face.
But I believe that if there is and you align yourself with Him and His standards, you will be quite successful. If not, you are fighting the tide or current and are not apt to get anywhere. God knows best what is good for us and can instruct us is we are willing to listen and learn. So whether there is a God or not could stand to be resolved one way or the other. You would likely do this anyway as you ponder the meaning of life and your place in it.
Motivation Gurus will usually avoid this topic as it can turn many off. Atheists and agnostics make up a large segment of the population now and it could be unprofitable to mention religion to them. Best to ignore it if money is what you want. But if truth is your only concern, you might want to give it more attention.
As in all things, the more you pursue a matter and seek various
ideas on it, such as the matter of God and religion, the more you are
apt to find the answers on it. But I believe that the best way to
follow and serve God is with your own conscience and thinking
ability. After all, it is you who will have to deal with the
consequences, good or bad. And as in any other matter, people have
their own irrational things to deal with. They could be well meaning
but still be wrong. But where we are all different in what we have
experienced and how, it is not likely that we will see completely the
same way and should not need to. I have other articles that go more
into these topics, anyway.
To help you understand why our own psychology can get in the way of progressing and accomplishing things and obtaining good mental hygiene, I believe you will be best enlightened by the psychological theories of Dr. Arthur Janov, Ph.D. His first book was "The Primal Scream." He has since published many more books on the subject and can best enlighten us all as to how we often sabotage our own efforts to obtain happiness. You might call it the enemy from within that is in all of us.
Janov shows how we are affected by major traumatic events in our lives or by the accumulation of small minor traumas that build up until they have the same effect on us that a major trauma would. What is the effect? The trauma is buried inside our brains until such time as we feel safe enough, secure enough, and smart enough, to process it and make sense of it all. If we are young and not safe and secure in the ultimate sense and as the world truly is, then our brains wait until the situation is right. And in a world of sin and cruelty, the time is never really right. So we carry around this pain and trauma our whole lives.
It tends to debilitate us. It causes us to try to block it, the pain, off and keep it buried and suppressed. But at certain times in our lives, due to events and circumstances, it may try to come out and out. If we were to let it out, we would relive the experience in all its vivid reality, but not necessarily in its entirety all at once. The pain and trauma might have been too much to process and comprehend all at once. So our brain kindly releases it to us in isolated reduced doses that we can handle until all the pain is finally released into the conscious to be processed and made sense of.
The problem is that we no more than get the pain when it starts to try to make into consciousness. It will keep trying our entire lives to break into our consciousness and get resolved but we will often run from it and from consciousness or at least certain aspects or areas of consciousness. We block things out that might remind us of the initial trauma and/or pain. Reminding stimulates the original pain and makes it want to come to the fore and into the consciousness. Pain wants to come up and be resolved. But we fear the pain and try to keep it down and buried. It is probably the worst thing we could do but we do it because we do not feel safe and comfortable. The insecurity we feel from the harsh world makes us want to keep it down there safely buried.
But while inside us, the pain causes tremendous upheaval in the body. The whole body experiences the energy and turmoil of the pain and upsets all the physiological processes so that the effect of pain is not just a mental one but a physical one as well. In fact, according to Janov and his research, physical and mental pain are all the same to the body and brain. And even more interesting, both the body and the brain remember pain ad trauma. For the body, it is more of a state that it remembers so it can go back when the pain is released into the conscious and expelled.
What I want to focus on is the fact that it can disrupt the mental facilities, our thinking and rationalization. So if we don't demand good sound reasoning of our minds and be willing to second guess ourselves and our motives, we may get fooled by ourselves as part of us battles us to keep certain things from coming into the conscious. It is the saboteur that constantly harasses us in our attempts to lead a fruitful, productive, effective, and fulfilling life. We need to be aware of the enemy within so we can see past him and what he is doing. He will try to mess up our minds or blind us to certain realities. We have to put him in his place and find the right course anyway. That is why it will take courage, courage to battle those mysterious fears inside us and see our way to the truth, despite our saboteur within.
When Janov or another therapist of his training or view wants to
help people, they do not bother with rational thoughts or intellect.
That can be sabotaged from within. They try to create an atmosphere
of trust and security so that one will not be afraid to feel the pain
and experience it in front of the therapist. Once the patient manages
to experience the real pain buried within, they will be able to
process it and make sense of it. It also can free up their minds as
they get rid of a substantial amount of the accumulated pain. Then
they can pursue intellectual things without getting fooled or
sabotaged from within.
Now for all the good things that Janov's therapy, called "Primal Therapy," does for a person, I still find some questionable errors in his theory and practice. First, it is my opinion that our minds and bodies will often absorb and bury pain when we are too young to make sense of or process the pain we encounter. It waits until there is a better time, although it will constantly make efforts to get into the conscious forever after the initial experience occurred. Relieving ourselves of the pain through Janov's therapy requires about a year of intensive therapy and some follow up sessions for as much as 2 or 3 years after that. Janov only operates and handles a limited number of patients at a time. His clinic and practice and the original institute run by his ex-wife are the only two places in the country that are available for this treatment.
In addition, it is a dangerous therapy. People in the throes of releasing pain and having it come up into the conscious can be very vulnerable to abuse as they will tend to see a therapist as a parent or possible lover. So the therapists have to be free of any needs themselves by having gone through intensive therapy themselves. It is true that Janov and company helped people through the pain without having been "cured" themselves but they soon saw the need to be "cured" themselves and undertook that. But not all folks who practice therapy are as well motivated and intentioned. We can see that in the cases where therapists have sex with their patients. So Janov does not recommend seeking primal therapy from anyone not trained and approved by him.
I would agree with this. I know how bad the psychiatric profession is. There are more nuts and weirdos there than in the world in general. They are often more of a mess than those who they treat. So since your options are only two places, both in southern California, you choices and options are very limited.
So you may have to wait till they have openings and accept you. You have to move to California for maybe 3 years. And you have to plan on possibly taking 2 or 3 months off at the beginning, maybe even 5 or 6 months. And then you might be OK to move elsewhere. Most people will not be able to fulfill and meet all those requirements. On top of that, you will be much more feeling and sensitive, like you were as a child before the world hardened you. You might be more prone to tears or hurt feelings which might be looked upon by the world as a sign of weakness.
We became hard for a reason. It would be great if everyone were respectful, kind, and considerate of our feelings as they all should be and we all should be of children but we are not. So you would only get hardened again as you accumulated the pain all over. Of course, in theory, you would have developed the understanding that would prepare you to deal with the unintentional and even at times intentional meanness and nastiness of people but you could still get caught off guard I would think. But often our reactions to the world are there to protect us from further injury and abuse.
To get rid of the pain and let down the defenses seems kind of
risky to me. Again, I haven't been there and experienced the therapy
so I can't say for sure what it is like and I would think we could
protect ourselves with understanding instead of emotional defenses
but I don't like the risk and I certainly don't have the time, money,
or circumstance to pursue the therapy. I don't know of many who do.
So what do we do?
What I have found and experienced is that even though the energy of the pain and trauma is buried deep inside us and our bodies, it is not completely unavailable to us. If we approach ourselves with courage and sincerity, we can discern the truth within ourselves. I will concede that this is very rare and unlikely in many cases, but possible just the same. Just because most people do not avail themselves to it, does not mean it is not possible or not done. In addition, I suppose that because a person is still considered "neurotic" by Janov's standards, that does not mean they have not made progress enough to be much more effective.
But what Janov is really missing is that much of the problem with a typically disturbed "neurotic" person as he would call them, is that their wisdom and logic is all messed up as is their state of mind and perception. I believe these can be all corrected if one disregards their messed up signals and uses good logic and questions themselves honestly, sincerely, and diligently. They can make sense of it all and straighten out the logic and come up with an adequate body of wisdom. After Janov's patients have been "cleansed" and "healed" of their pain, they often are still not quite sure of what next. Janov says they are free to pursue whatever they want in the way of meaning, purpose, wisdom, or whatever else they like.
Janov would not recommend that people disconnect themselves from their internal primal pain. His idea is that you try to make the connection and bring your pain into the conscious. It is the disconnect that he suggests is the problem and he is quite correct to some degree. But he does not make a distinction between gaining knowledge without pain and gaining it despite the pain. Psychological pain can interfere with intellectual processes, no doubt about that. But we can get to the truth in spite of the pain, too. Pain tends to seek a particular outlet. All psychologists have noted that when they solve the problems of say, a 10 or 11 year old, the child will develop other problems in several years.
The internal "primal" pain as Janov calls it, we might even call it primordial pain, drives us in certain ways or directions. The pain often takes routes that produce disturbances in behavior or cause us to be a little bit irrational about some things. Maybe even very irrational. We might develop odd habits. When we seek to control and banish those problems, they go find another outlet. They must do so in order to release the energy created by the pain and disturbance deep in the mind. So when we solve one problem, we create another somewhere else. We eliminate a certain pathway or behavior but not the energy generated. It must find a release. So Janov says that we need to release the pain into the conscious and release it from our systems. That is the best way for sure. But as I said earlier, many of us will not be able to seek the treatment he offers.
But we can select which route the pain will take. Janov has found that if pain is denied a behavioral outlet or an intellectual one, then it might start to take it out on the body, causing a lot of damage internally as it scrambles the various systems and puts them out of balance. Many cancers and numerous other ailments can indeed, by brought on by the mind and psychological forces within us. But there are also ways we can help out bodies cope with the physical stress produced from within. Various nutrients can help to balance out imbalances and remedy problems created by primal pain. Meanwhile, we can straighten our minds out. It can be done. It will not be without side effects, but I would rather think straight and behave well and suffer in other areas than to go around screwed up ad not be able to get anywhere in life.
The goal, whether with or without pain, is to clean up our ideas and get our heads straight. Once we have done that, we can do anything. Our thinking, our reasoning, needs to be the object of our efforts. When it is in line, all else follows. Then if you like and are able, you can set aside 3 to 5 years of your life with Janov and company and see if you can eliminate most of you pain from earlier in life.
The problem with Janov's patients is that they were not smart enough to figure much out without help in the first place and they don't know where to go or turn afterward. Parents were of no guidance and Janov abdicates from helping, too. Our society doesn't actually like us being very smart so they won't help. There are few if any places and sources to turn to. Seeking wisdom seems to come natural to a rare few but not many. Most will need a little bit of help in starting them off. Janov does not feel it is his business to do so. Maybe, maybe not. But someone has got to help them somewhere. Perhaps therapists at Janov's institute are better qualified than most, since they have eliminated most of their own primal weaknesses so as not to need people or desire to enslave them mentally as readily as the more mentally disturbed might want to do.
As we saw with regular psychology and therapy at the beginning of this article, they did not impart wisdom but focused on why they felt as they did. Janov kind of focuses on feelings and helps to eradicate the bad ones. But he does not solve the problems of wisdom and strategy for life. The motivational crowd examines the wisdom aspect pretty good but they make some serious errors, too. They focus more on imagery, mental states, and many things that do not have a real serious impact on your results. They are compromised by their desire to get people high and get their money.
The real goal needs to be the pursuit of true accurate knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. They offer the power, the real power, to accomplish whatever you would like. So my next article will deal with the particulars of how which strategies and course work the best and what ideas we have that should be discarded and what is the most advantageous. I have explored some of those already but will deal with more including some of the good ones that the motivation speakers hit on.
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