Image: I Want to Believe The Hype by Stallio
A massive thank you to everybody who has commented, spread the word on Twitter & Facebook, or emailed me with feedback about the first week of The Clear-Minded Creative – the response has been fantastic.
The blog was even featured on The Guardian Edinburgh, which amusingly attracted my very own “hater” in the comments, who described me as “like Anthony Robbins meets Adrian Mole”.
Unfortunately for my hater, I actually take that as a compliment – I was a big fan of Sue Townsend’s geeky creation as a kid, and I also think Anthony Robbins has a lot of good things to say.
What?? I hear you gasp!
Wait a minute – don’t tell me – might you be hugely sceptical or cynical about self-development?
If so, I can totally relate. It’s hard not to be in the face of an ever-increasing queue of self-appointed ‘gurus’, lining up to sell you the ‘secret’ or ‘hidden key’ to success, or a miracle cure for your insomnia/low self-esteem/alektorophobia (fear of chickens) – especially when you have to remortgage your house to afford it.
Anyone who sets themselves up as a guru immediately sets alarm bells ringing in our minds. Nobody’s perfect after all, so if someone’s selling us their lifestyle or personality as something we should be aspiring to, I for one can’t help wondering what they’re not telling us about this perfect life of theirs, like what skeletons they have in their closet or bodies buried under their patio.
Okay, I have an over-active imagination but you might have the same nagging sensation that the image they’re portraying is not quite the whole truth.
Throughout my adult life I’ve fluctuated between wide-eyed naivety (or open-mindedness depending on your view), and a stubborn cynicism. The truth is though that I regret the extended periods where I was most sceptical and closed-off to the possibilities of self-improvement.
But Surely It’s Good to be a ‘Healthy Sceptic?’
Now I do believe that there is such thing as healthy scepticism, because people need to have a sense of when people are trying to con them and scepticism of generally accepted “truths” can be a very healthy thing. We need to challenge pointless traditions and out-dated systems and opinions.
However if a person is too sceptical about things that could be helpful to them surely it is counter-productive.
We’ve all heard of self-help gurus who have become hugely successful such as Anthony Robbins, Deepak Chopra and Brian Tracy. Whilst the advice these people offer can often be very helpful for anyone willing to put in the hard work to implementing it, they also often charge a premium for their services and use pushy sales techniques which could put people off.
And many people can come away disappointed because they thought there would be an easy answer to their problems.
Despite this, I personally have benefited from the advice of these old school self-help types because I gave them the benefit of the doubt and listened to the useful things they had to say.
And the likes of Anthony Robbins have inspired others, such as life coach Tim Brownson who is bringing self-help kicking and screaming into modern times with his no-nonsense, but highly effective approach. You can tell just by reading his excellent blog that Tim is no ordinary life coach.
Aesthetics are Important
These days, someone like Chris Guillebeau who uses fresh and modern design is more likely to get the trust of the modern creative person than someone like Brian Tracy with his old school aesthetics. But sometimes it’s worth pushing past your preconceptions.
The Advantages of an Open Mind
This excellent article on the same topic at The School of Life suggests we need to reclaim a sense of ‘sceptical optimism and down to earth happiness’.
With an open mind you can look past things like aesthetics and find some useful information. And no-one’s saying you have to agree with everything a person says to get something useful out of it. Each person is unique and a critical eye is of course necessary in order to pick out the specific things that apply to your own personality, talents and life situation.
Do you agree or disagree that there are benefits to having a more open mind? Have your say in the comments.