I had previously thrown in my hat before, so I could just as easily do it again!
My mantra was that I could never be defeated. In the past, no matter how many times I had been knocked down, I got back up again and remade myself. Sounds like a bit of inspirational fromage, doesn’t it? But if it looks like cheese, if it smells like cheese, and if it tastes like cheese, be careful, as something may be playing a practical joke on you.
I’m back with Hemmingway again and his old man who finally accepts defeat when he was touching success. What’s the message? Do we all just resign ourselves to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or take up the fight? How many times do we take it on? If a door refuses to open, do we continue knocking at it with our foreheads until unconsciousness dictates that we stop?
The world is full of inspirational stories; ones that make you feel humble and ones that force you to count your blessings. It’s good advice, but please forgive me for not letting it lead my life. In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king. I don’t wish to be king and I also don’t wish for blindness. I have advantages due to being born with an average intelligence, average sporting abilities and average advantages. We were never extremely poor. We never had to beg. We never starved. I was never disabled. My parents were not drug addicts. We were never caught up in a tsunami or earthquake. We never suffered from persecution or found our line subject to ethnic cleansing. I do count my blessings but instead choose to count these as accidents of fortune. It would make more sense to contemplate the blessing of having a meteor, the size of six football pitches, narrowly miss the earth, or not.
Then there is the phoney positivity which we pass on to the young as if it is Bible. Put a smile on your face and the world becomes a happier place. In my book, a smile on the face of a world that is indifferent to suffering, merely endorses and condones that abysmal state of being. Ignoring the wrongs of the world in favour of an inner sense of wellbeing is the worst thing that any caring human being can do. To smile in the face of horrendous adversity denotes a madness at the core of its wearer, or the fact that drugs are involved.
Now, all that industry that developed around self-help psychiatry, goal-achievement and general wellbeing is possibly all benign and well-meaning, its accumulated riches for its creators are merely side issues. After all, it’s all for the benefit of mankind isn’t it?
Dale Carnegie, that doyen of self-improvement, salesmanship and mastery of advantageous interpersonal skills, once found his way into my life courtesy of a sales manager I had the misfortune to know.
How to Win Friends and Influence Peoplelanded on my desk one day accompanied by a knowing smile. My snort of derision soon chased off my would-be benefactor’s sunny disposition, but I took the tome in the way that it was intended. I still have it on my bookcase even though not one page of it has ever been read.