Good grief, Charlie Brown

Bookshop,Tokyo

Given that it’s almost Christmas, and time for yet another round of Charlie Brown’s Christmas, with Lionel on the piano, this title might capture your attitude towards yet another post on Facebook on personal development. Is it me, or do there seem to be too many gurus and systems out there, each offering his or her own solution to the dilemma of being a human being on this planet of ours?

We not only have all of the major religions of the world to guide us, but we have bookstores and libraries filled with self help books. We have The Secret and the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. We have Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, shamans, and, yes, even mushrooms. How do we even begin to choose between them all? Do we drive ourselves crazy taking workshops? Do we read every book that comes out?

We have shelves and shelves of self-help books in every bookstore and library in the country. We pass around videos and photos on Facebook (and probably Twitter and all the other social media places in the universe, but I have to admit to a certain willful illiteracy). The newspaper tells us what to eat, what not to eat, how to exercise, and on and on.

But we love this, don’t we? I do. I eat it up. I read everything I can get my hands on. I get advice from my friends. I watched The Secret. Didn’t you? I go to workshops. This summer I got a food allergy test. And why? Because I want to be happier and healthier. I want to live my dream life. Don’t you?

Isn’t this why we go on meditation retreats (well, actually, I don’t, but I bet you do because half of my friends have). Why do we do cleanses (have you? Confess. Be honest. I have.), try diets, cut out wheat or cheese or coffee, become vegans, raw foodists, and all of the other possible and perhaps a bit crazy things out there? You tell me. Why are you, right now, vowing to go to the gym every day starting tomorrow?

What about you? What are your issues? Your hopes and dreams? And your favorite self-help books?

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