Eli Schostak @EliSchostak: which self help gurus have helped you in your life & how?
I don’t really like the self-help category. That said, I’ve probably read every self-help author out there, ranging from the psychology section to the self-help section to the occult section and all the sections in between.
The problem is, most self-help authors focus on the wrong thing: how to get better at something. The goal in life is not to be the most impressive person in a meeting . Or to have the most money. Or to get the most girls. Not saying those are bad goals. We all have to live in the real world and we can’t become monks.
But often the goal in life is to cultivate NOT wanting those things. To be happy even if you aren’t the most impressive person in the meeting, or the richest, or having the most sex, or being the best speaker, or being the most creative. Sometimes it’s important to realize that the struggles, the little sufferings that battle us each day are not to be avoided but to be viewed as opportunities to strengthen the soul. To be grateful for what we have now, struggles and all, rather than to put together some complicated manifesto about how life SHOULD or COULD be in some distant future.
I think most self-help tries to convince you that suffering could be circumvented through various tricks and techniques that will ultimately not work or even worse, cause massive harm.
That said, a good book is “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. I think he borrows from various spiritual disciplines and condenses it down into something easily accessible. He focuses on various techniques one can use to be content and peaceful right now, rather than obsessing on past issues, or “visualizing” future outcomes that will crush us if they don’t happen. I also like Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell. The former for her frank discussions with people during seminars and the latter for his unique modern interpretations of various religions. I didn’t realize this until I had already read several books by both but it turns out they are married. Funny how that works.