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Self-Help from Other Sources


Looking For the Right Answers In the Possible Wrong Places

It has long been my contention that one of the obstacles we face as human beings comes from one of our biggest assets as a species:  the ability to model, to recreate various scenarios in our imagination. There is no evidence any other species is capable of doing this, and it has led to almost all of the great human achievements–if we can conceive it and believe it, we can achieve it. However, this ability should come with a list of negative side effects. One of these is that we often hold onto beliefs that seem to be true but may be limiting us.

In terms of prosperity consciousness, for instance, many people hold onto the beliefs and habits of their parents about money–beliefs and habits that may have even worked for their parents, but are now extremely outmoded and dysfunctional as the real world has so dramatically changed. And a small piece of this that may have large results is our beliefs about where to get good advice about personal growth and strategies to overcome any obstacles in our path to success, emotional health, and relationship satisfaction. Self-help books, workshops, audios, etc. may have some useful suggestions and even help a lot of people–but they give us a very narrow perspective on how to move forward in consciousness.

In order for us to have access to the best possible information so that we can accomplish our true purpose in life and deepest satisfaction in every area of that life, we have to be open to all sorts of other input. I have often contended that reading novels is one way to do this, as good novelists are such perceptive observers of the human experience, and often come up with answers and solutions that even the most gifted psychologist, counselor, or self-help author hasn’t discovered. (As the author of six self-help books, I realize I am exploding some myths here that may not serve my best interests.)

What led to this particular post on this particular day is the fact that I am now reading, on my Kindle, a book I got because I am intending to move to Panama in February, and am making my first exploratory trip there in a month. The book is called, Escape to Paradise: Living & Retiring in Panama, by Richard Detrich. My good friend, entrepreneur Tony Busse, who has settled in Panama, will be my personal tour guide on my visit and has already created a bunch of support systems for my relocation, including sources who will help create stand-up comedy and motivational seminar opportunities. But I thought it would be a good idea to read a book or two on that Central American nation so that I can ask Tony and his friends some of the right questions when I get there in October.

Right here, I am patting myself on the back for my brilliance in choosing this book to start with. While it has a lot of information about Panama and living there, it also has a lot of knowledge about life and what is really important. Detrich was trained and ordained as a minister, is a big fan of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, whom he knew, and obviously has a deep philosophical nature. Because of this, he has some brilliant things to say about how to achieve happiness, inner peace, and a life well-lived. More, in fact, than most self-help books I have encountered.

He also shares with me a skill I am very proud of, the ability to cull out the most essential parts of a book or a speech, so as to come up with the one or two sentences that we can most easily absorb and benefit from. For instance, from Dr. Peale, he quotes:

Successful old age is built on earlier years lived right.

And from General Douglas MacArthur:

Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Tears may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul.

Richard Detrich himself talks about the necessity of being available to let go even of a comfortable existence and live a new adventure, as he now does in Boquete, Panama–as well as by lecturing for months at a time on cruise ships. He says we all have strings of possible paths out there if we only pay attention, and:

You should follow the string. You simply follow the string and see where it leads. If you don’t, you’ll never know what might have been. And if you follow the string and no longer like where it’s leading, you simply stop following.

I particularly like Detrich’s last part, as it reminds me of my response when someone says to me, “What if you get to Panama and don’t like it as much as you thought you would?”  My answer usually is, “I’ll just leave, come back to the U.S., or go somewhere else that looks interesting and wonderful.” Isn’t this, after all, what true prosperity is? Not to mention Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness. The ability to go where you want to go when you want to go there, and stay as long as you like.



About the Author Jerry

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