Reply To: Think and Grow Rich thoughts and questions and introspection

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Ellen Saunders

Hi, Amanda. I have similar issues and thoughts. I put mine into writing in a different forum here (Questions, I think). I’ll focus on what you’re bringing up here.

Hill’s book is problematic for me in oh-so-many-ways. It also strikes me as being the Great-Great-Grandpappy of all Self-Help books.

It helps to remember that it was published in 1938. Gods, that was SEVENTY-EIGHT YEARS AGO. Think about the attitudes your average 90-year-old has about a lot of things and recognize that the author of the book didn’t have the temporizing influences of *living* through those ensuing 78 years… so you’re basically talking about this being written by someone who was the *parent* of today’s 80- to 90-year-old. So some of its attitudes, including the push for “open-mindedness” are actually kind of amazingly progressive *for the time.*

It’s hard to remember how much has changed in our knowledge and attitudes towards things like mental health. As someone who also deals with depression, and whose 97-year-old father died in 2008, I’m pretty familiar with the attitudes toward mental health from that generation. I’ve also learned, as a survival skill, to tune out what’s not helpful and focus on what is. (Okay, it doesn’t always work, but I try to.) So what I’ve been trying to do as I read through it is to pick out what I can learn from it and leave the rest.

I found his socio-political-economic ideas to be annoying in places, but again, he was writing at the behest of and with gratitude toward highly successful business leaders, so he was coming from a particular worldview I don’t share. That doesn’t mean I can’t learn from him, just that I think he’d get a huge and unpleasant shock if he could see some of the ugly corners his “the customer is always right” attitudes have taken us. Many attitudes/hhabits taken to extreme can be damaging.

Uh, I think I’m going afield here…

I’m also struggling with the self-love bit. I just finished reading the “30 causes of failure” section and I think a lack of ambition is one of my flaws, and he calls that a fatal flaw in a somewhat dismissive way. Ad he’s right. If I don’t have a deep passion to accomplish something with my life I’m pretty much guaranteed to not accomplish much. I can’t argue with that. So I’m back to the “what AM I deeply passionate about” and that gets back to that self-love and self-trust piece. I keep returning to one of Mr. Barnes’ comments, “What would you do, if you knew you could not fail?” Failure is deeply shameful for me, and there’s a stirring in response to that question I’m trying to sit with to see if I can find an answer.

Anyway, this is kind of a disjointed response but I wanted to let you know you’re NOT the only one with such thoughts and I’m still tripping over Step One as well. *wry smile*

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