Finding inspiration in the everyday (detoxing from self-help)

I’m basically a positive person who has an optimistic, pragmatic and realistic outlook on life and the world. When shit happens, I will more than likely look inside myself to see “what went wrong”. I will sometimes blame others or make excuses, but that only lasts as long as the emotion, then I get introspective and realistic.

There are definitely a few life items that could do with a bit of a reno. At different times I’ve sought to improve my health & fitness, organisation, my dodgy cooking, my career and business, my parenting, study etc. And over the past decade I began to turn to what I call the self-help/transformation industry. I think I was hooked the moment I turned the first page of that old second-hand Stephen Covey book.

Well a decade or two in, and think it’s time to withdraw. I’ve decided to begin the detox. I’m not 100% sure to what degree I’ll detox (perhaps keeping some, while discarding others). Why? cause it’s pretty done bugger all except make me feel crap that I haven’t had the “willpower”, the “strength”, haven’t “made the right choices” or haven’t been “responsible” enough for my life, to get me to some magical self-actualised place of calm, serenity, and order. Attempting to compare myself to Ghandi, MLK, Mother Theresa, and some dude who climbed a mountain while wheelchair bound, basically makes me feel like crap and doesn’t inspire me at all anymore.

It’s probably not the fault of the industry, it’s probably just be me. As a person who consumes a lot of content every day, my various feeds are chokkas with “your life is yours” messages whether they are on a photoshopped stock image of a perfect serene reality in my FB feed, littered in television marketing (eg. Biggest Loser) or embedded in government policy (eg. The Intervention). Anyway, I’m over it.

I know life-styling self-help messaging works for some, for many even. It’s made a lot of people very rich. But I’m definitely over-loaded.

I’m focusing this year – my hope for 2013 – is to find my sources of inspiration in small victories much closer to home. These small moments of inspiration will probably be unbloggable and nothing noteworthy. But perhaps they will be more meaningful. I don’t know. Lets see. Ask me in the next decade how I went.

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