Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
When my friends are having problems, it’s easy to see what they ought to do- ditch the cheating boyfriend, stand up to the bully, start working out, get a dog… but when it comes to my own problems everything is murky, and the advice that my clear thinking friends offer seems as if it just isn’t taking everything into consideration.
Why is it that we can be so sensible about other people’s problems, yet be completely incapable of seeing our own? I even had a therapist once who gave great advice, but then got divorced and one of his kids ended up in jail. And he didn’t process it well, either, he was miserable. You would think that with all his training, he would do a little better than the rest of us.
If therapists can’t solve their own problems, how can anyone else? It doesn’t seem like it’s a matter of knowing what to do. It seems more a matter of emotions being stronger and more reflexive than reason or intellect.
Advice is a form of storytelling. You project yourself into someone else and their scenario and make up how things will go and thus what they should do. That’s why people most often don’t follow advice. It is your story not there’s. It is far less obvious to do this for oneself and you know it’s bullshit so there’s a lack of conviction you would have when you know what someone else should do.
Why do seemingly smart sensible people make rotten, stupid, nonsensical decisions? They have no personal plan thus no intent. They make decisions based on how they feel and do not evaluate them against an intentional life plan. A life plan or intent allows one to delay gratification thus not make impulsive feel good but real dumb decisions.
Every self-help book helps one to develop their own personal story. I call it intent but The Alchemist just calls it “your personal story”. My current favorite self-help book is :
|Generation WTF From “What the %#$@?” to a Wise, Tenacious, and Fearless You Christine B. Whelan|
She summarizes and field tests most other self-help books but also looks at it from the point of view that forming your story is no different than starting a not for profit business. This includes who you pick as a life partner. Never marry someone you wouldn’t pick for a business partner. If you do it will not bode well.
Formulating an intent based on your values and what you hope to achieve or as she states how you want to be remembered. This is quite effective advice. It’s like doing marketing research. What niche do you want to target? You then become your own product. Then you have to seeking out the right manufacturers (people who encourage you and can help) and reevaluate if you’re on target and being effective often.
Having a BUISNESS PLAN OR LIFE PLAN isn’t as random as just plain advice as its better researched and done in a stepwise realistic approach. It also utilizes other people in an efficient and reinforcing way. It is also flexible as it is reevaluated often.
An intentional life might not seem romantic but it isn’t stupid.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché