09 March 2006

Fools Seldom Differ?

I got the following in an email yesterday.

The odd thing about me - I susbscribe to a few email newsletters from 'highly rated' motivational speakers, but rarely read the emails and even less frequently follow the links. You'll see in a minute, why I like to keep an eye on what they say without jumping to absorb all of it as gospel, or (heaven forbid), buy something and bump up their coffers.

In this case, for a split second, after the mind games I made up and blogged the other day, I thought it was a case of 'great minds thinking alike':

The Secrets of the Most Successful People in the World
are About to be Revealed to You!

  • Imagine if the dream you have could actually come true.
  • Imagine if you could transform your attitude and maintain optimism all of the time.
  • Imagine if you could escape the life that you currently live and instead live the life of your dreams.
  • Imagine having the respect and admiration you desire from others.
  • Imagine if you could accomplish the things you desire.
  • Imagine if you could make the kind of money you want.
  • Imagine if you could develop successful relationships.
  • Imagine yourself at the top of your profession or field.
  • Imagine what it would be like to have no goal go unfulfilled.
  • Imagine what it would be like to know how to stay motivated all the time!
  • Imagine making a difference in the world around you and leaving a lasting legacy.

The Secrets of Influence: 12 Characteristics of Dynamic Leaders, Sales People and Top Performers

This new program is based on the Keynote address that Chris Widener gives to organizations all over the world, produced solely to help you learn what the successful already know - how to earn wealth, power, recognition and influence that will change your life forever and allow you to live the life of your dreams!

Like I said, only for a split second. I even briefly thought - "huh typical, this guy is making a living out of selling common sense and I'm not", but then I got to the second heading; to the bottom line.

Bottom line? As usual with these guys, its all about the money. Worse, its not enough to realise your potential, to realise the power you have (no that's not a magical power to influence, just the fact that you are already in the driving seat of your own life, that you can actually choose the speed and direction).

The whole selling point, the bit he deemed worthy of bold print, is not the sense of control this gives you, nor the way this changes your attitude, nor even the way that others will find you strangely magnetic if you have found this freedom and they have not. Its certainly not about helping them to the same state.


Its about the possibility that, appearing more dynamic, appearing to be more in charge of your life, when others then find themselves attracted to you, you can take that opportunity and sell them something. No gift of attitude, nor even exchange, nor sale of outlook (which is the thing that they actually want), but sale of whichever 'product' you happen to sell for a living, on the unspoken basis that these people will assume your wares are part of your lifestyle and therefore part responsible for it.

In short, they will buy a water filter from you, in their search for self-confidence. How do you 'be a leader'? You attract followers. That's it. I'd sooner have friends than sycophants.

I mean, how sick is that?

In reality, the joke is on the poor fools that sign up for these seminars and tapes, because if you set out to learn self management with side effects as your main focus, you just never get the point. True self responsibility is never about how you look to others, its quite the opposite.

Enter one vicious circle - you never quite manage to do what you are told to do, because its never taught for the right reasons. Sure a few points in your life will look up, but the system is designed to make you his follower, to leave you in a state where you are good, just not 'as good'. Never fear, these guys who took all your money so they could explain it, these guys who are so obviously 'rich and successful' will be standing there ready to take any cash you have left in order to explain it all over again.

Yeah, right. Companies fall for this?

N.B. Its by a guy called Chris Widener, although it could just as easily have been by Jim Rohn or any of the others; and no, I'm not going to link to his site, but if you look for it, you'll find its an obvious testimonial to corporate wealth, to what some (too many) might call success.


Ally said...

Do you ever read 'Kindred Spirit' magazine? When I started getting it, at least a decade ago, it was relatively down to earth and spiritually focused. And now, although it does appear to be paying lip service to the same values, I feel that it's much more a magazine aimed at people wanting to buy enlightenment. Or sell it.

It bugs me as much as the motivational capitalist guys :/.

ella m. said...

Hmmm..... isn't this just about what any sort of advertising (from self help to cosmetics) boils down to these days?

Buy product x and you get the lover/promotion/whatever. Purchase product Y and everyone will want to be just like you (but we want you to use product z because a famous person says they do and if you're not good enough, why not be just like someone who we have decided is?)

Ivy the Goober said...

Cheryl, I love how you think! I can always come over here and find something light hearted and fun, or really deep and thought-provoking.

doris said...

"I'd sooner have friends than sycophants." I couldn't agree more however, I think you are being a little harsh. And considering I don't know this guy or read what you've read that is a bit rich coming from me! But what I mean is, surely once upon a time or still somewhere within these "gurus" is a better message that just isn't coming across and is being clouded by the sales pitch.

And to be devils advocate, why should the spiritual or aware people have the monopoly on these skills and why can't they be propogated for sales techniques?

Could it be that you are just too altruistic for your own good? Couldn't there be a balance between having these excellent ethics and the "sales pitch"? I don't know, just an argumentative thought!

I do find it sad though that the Western world (maybe further afield?) is geared around all sorts of bo**ox with little real and sincere feelings for humanity or what could be termed the more important stuff. That doesn't exclude wealth for those that aspire to it but the rest of us may be wealthy as we are without having mega-noughts in our bank accounts.

Cheryl said...

Hi Doris
Absolutely agreed that there is truth and valuable stuff in what these guys say. Otherwise nobody would rave about them and they wouldnt earn their reputations.
What I mean is that this is lost under the focus on making money, and if you go into self improvement with the desire to manipulate people to hand you their cash, you may learn tricks but you won't 'self' improve.

Money isn't the root of all evil, theres no shame or wrong in having money - love of money is another matter and it worries me that money-worship is encouraged.

Badaunt said...

They are very good at the money = happiness/success thing, aren't they? And they plug into people's worries or uncertainties, and exaggerate them, like an Amway recruiting spiel.

I have found myself starting to worry about my success/wealth thing sometimes when reading that sort of thing, but eventually I stop and think but hold on! What's all this FOR? I am happy NOW! If I were ambitious and wanted to be 'successful' in my profession (as measured the normal way - tenure, better pay, etc), I certainly wouldn't be in Japan where the first criteria for 'success' in academia is that you are Japanese.

But there is a weird sort of thinking out there that says if you are a good, enlightened person you will get money, and if you are poor it is somehow your own fault. It's extraordinary how easily people swallow that whole idea.