Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I read two chapters of Value in the Valley and I must bitch to get the sugar out my mouth:

1)Anything talking about your 'mindset' or being 'positive'. To get a good outcome, you need to do good things. You can have a positive mindset towards opening a business, but you can pay $88 for a MLM system, and never succeed. You can have a good mindset about math, but if you're terrible at it, you're terrible at it.

2)Anything talking about your energy attracting people or whatever. The writers don't mean it that way, but you know that whoever reads this is recasting it into "you don't have a man/he treated you like crap/your best friend betrayed you because/whatever...because you're a horrible person"

I have to admit I prefer Tomato Nation. None of that wishful thinking stuff about the universe having a purpose for us- I'm sorry, but the universe could care less or us having God nature. Simply advice about what to *do* or not do as the case may be. It's practical, it's portable, and it works for everyone from silly old women with the moon in their eyes, hair,etc, and people with some sense.

But you may ask why are these things so popular if they are so stupid? Well, there are two effects working here. First, if you make something vague enough, people will say 'yea, that's me'. This is called the Forer effect. Another effect is that many problems are self limiting. Your boyfriend is acting like a shit, you break up with him. You'll feel bad for some weeks, but probably usually recover. If you read a self help book anytime in that period between feeling bad and feeling better, you may attribute the feeling better to self help books.

Of course, there is also simple wishful thinking. I feel better now.

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