Have you ever started reading a book and discovered that you vehemently disagreed with every word?
Doesn't happen to me very often, but as I started reading The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles, I swear my skin started crawling. So far, every word on every page represents exactly everything I hate and oppose about success training. His main principle is to get rich first and figure out your principles later. No, I'm not kidding. Here's the quote: "It [this book] is intended for the men and women whose most pressing need is for money, who wish to get rich first, and philosophize afterward."
Now this ALONE is a principle I heartily disagree with. Our most pressing need is almost NEVER for money, even though we often think it is. It is more often for acceptance, love, joy, security, relaxation, but it's almost NEVER for money.
OK, OK; I know what you're thinking--that money can get you those things. This is also what Mr. Wattles postulates, and is yet another principle with which I disagree. He says, "... you can become what you want to be only by making use of things." Basically, a very Machiavellian view of the world is what he presents. Money will make you happy, and you need money to buy the stuff that will make you happy and rich.
Now I wholeheartedly agree that there is nothing wrong with being successful. I believe in defining your values and following your dreams and defining your own reality. I most pointedly DON'T believe that money and wealth itself is a worthy or fulfilling goal--that's a long-perpetuated myth that I simply don't buy into.
And I'm taking exception exception (!!) to this: "To live fully in soul, man must have love, and love is denied expression by poverty."
Wow! Imagine all those wonderfully fulfilling relationships and moments I shared with loved ones without ever spending a dime! How DID I ever manage it??
"Without realizing it, we often create stories around a set of facts and then take our stories to be the truth." --from The Power of Full Engagement
Isn't this nugget of wisdom absolutely the truth? In a seminar on Your Best Year Yet that I happened to attend last week, this point was brought up by one of the excellent instructors, Elizabeth Ruske. She told a story about an interaction she had with a friend. She'd been coaching the friend on Your Best Year Yet, meeting for breakfast every week. One week, she saw that the friend hadn't brought her notebook, so Elizabeth assumed that the friend just wanted to chat, not work on her goals for the year. So they chatted for nearly 45 minutes before the friend pulled out the notebook, which had been in her bag, and said, "But I really wanted to work on Best Year Yet with you this morning!" Elizabeth chuckled and blushed as she told the story. She had used a fact (the friend didn't have the notebook in her hand) to create a story (she didn't want to work on the program) and so lost 45 minutes in which they could have been working together to shape her friend's year.
And how often have we assumed that a friend or client not returning a call means that he/she isn't interested? How often have you been discouraged by small details, assumed a reason for them, and later discovered that... the person was dealing with family issues or out of the country, and is in fact still interested?
The phrase "assuming facts not in evidence" comes to my mind, but perhaps that's just because I watch waaaay too much Law and Order! :-) The truth is that we can so easily make up a negative story... why not just make up a positive one? Or, better yet, just call and ask and get to the actual facts of the matter?
And before I forget, let me recommend the Your Best Year Yet seminar. I took it last week, and it really helped me to create goals that were me and based on the values that I hold dear. If you're in the Chicago area, contact Elizabeth Ruske at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their site. If you're anywhere else in the U.S., just call 877-972-7897 to bring this workshop to your business. I highly recommend it!
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing the final product of the creativity and hard work of a group of very talented women. The group is the Keyhole Players, and the performance art/movement piece is about their experiences of becoming women and going through the process of self-individuation.
What was really fascinating was their successful attempts at bringing the audience into their experiences by breaking that fourth wall. In one particular case, a dancer approached an audience member and asked her directly, "What does it mean to you to be an adult?"
An excellent question, I think! So let's think about this for a bit. What does it really mean to be an adult?
For me, I think, it's the freedom to fail... and having the perspective to learn from those failures. (I'm thinking of that famous quote that refers to learning more from one's failures than from one's successes!). It's the freedom to take risks and look foolish, but also having the wisdom to make the most of whatever happens. And it's the most adult of experiences--occasionally choosing to put someone else's goals, needs, or happiness above your own. It's making choices with confidence, and then accepting and learning from the consequences of those choices, whatever they may be.
So I'd like to hear your input... what does it mean to you to be an adult? Come on, have you even thought about this question since you were seventeen and longing for the independence of adulthood? :-) Take a self-indulgent little minute and think about it.