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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

How to Be Happy

Life Coach
I started thinking about the topic of human happiness recently after watching a video of a purported life coach—whatever the hell that is. Because I always do an exhaustive research on all of the topics I discuss here I did a Google search “How to be happy.”  One of the first things on the queue was a book by that title. It seemed like total bullshit but at least it was free. I looked a little closer and it turns out that the author had adapted this book from another tome he penned that dealt with improving people’s golf games. OK, I don’t pretend to know shit about happiness or how to get it but I’m pretty sure it has absolutely nothing to do with golf. I’d go so far as to say that happiness and golf are two separate things.

If the people who claim to be life coaches (whatever the fuck that is) or the authors of books entitled “How to Be Happy” were being completely honest I think they would lower their ambitions for the average slob. It’s just absurd for everyone to expect to be wildly happy. How about a more modest goal? How about “How Not to Be Completely Miserable,” do you think that book would sell? Probably not because people love fairy tales, happy endings, and get-rich-quick schemes.  Doubt scares the living crap out of people even though certainty—in most cases—is completely ridiculous.  Certainty is easy whereas doubt is very difficult. Admitting that you don’t know or worse, that you can’t possibly know something can be frightening.  Religion sells certainty, so do life coaches (Really? People actually call themselves “Life Coaches?”).

Many people also just want to buy the human being instructional manual. Unfortunately, that book has been out of print for a long, long time.  If there is an instructional manual for life on this planet then it’s a work in progress made up of every shred of wisdom ever acquired over the course of human history.  You need to sort through all of that wisdom and come to your own conclusions. There, that was easy, wasn’t it? Is this what “Life Coaches” tell people? Do “Life Coaches” wear those horrible gym teacher stretch shorts and whistles?  I’m guessing that “Life Coaches” are like those über-annoying personal trainers at the gym that scream at people while they do sit-ups.  If I were a “Life Coach” and preyed on the weak and confused my slogan would be: Life Coach, no more shooting sprees or the first session is free!


When I Googled “How to Be Happy” I got 55,440,000 results. When I Googled ““How Not to Be Completely Miserable” there were two entries. I suppose that I will try to write that book.  Here are a few outline points for my book, How Not to Be Completely Miserable:

         a) Stop reading magazines with pictures of celebrities on the cover.
There are a lot of reasons for this, the main one being that these magazines are all shit. Another reason not to read them is that they are in the business of hagiography which is a form of religion created by advertising. Celebrities—especially the Hollywood type—are usually no better people than the average slob in the street. Celebrities have the benefit of personal trainers, personal chefs, plastic surgeons, and make-up artists to help them to side-step some of the more mundane complaints of life here on this planet. However, they can’t escape the fact that they are human.  Believe it or not Julia Roberts takes huge, ghastly shits just like her manicurist or her pool boy. And we all have to die sooner or later, no matter how many Oscars we have.  

               b) I’m almost positive that your new cell phone, big screen TV, BMW, or Franklin Mint art object won’t make your orgasm any better.
I don’t know what I mean by this but you know what I mean, so just stop it.

              c)There is no substitute for reading.
There just isn’t. Watching TV may make you hip as far as pop culture is concerned but when you get around smart people you sound like the idiot that you are. Get a library card and use it. Start today.

That may sound arrogant but trust me, I struggle every day in my battle with ignorance like an alcoholic trying to stay with the 12 Step program.  As far as my own experience is concerned, there are no shortcuts in life, no easy answers, no life coaches, no How To books that sort it all out for you, and no Eating-Praying-Loving your way around the tough parts of human existence.

4 comments:

  1. Two things:
    1) When I'm golfing, happiness and golfing are one & the same (there's usually some alcohol involved too, but IMO drinking and golf definitely go together).
    2) I've met a "life coach" or two in my life so far. In each instance they are failed people who then took some stupid class on "being a better person" followed shortly by "be a life coach!".

    Keep up the good work - always dig it.

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  2. Maybe a Life Coach is someone who trains you how to play the board game Life.

    catch-23

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  3. Great points. I work in the Ad industry and if you want proof of just how horribly fake it all is, I can attest to late nights spent airbrushing the pores off of women's faces, removing the wrinkles under their arms so they couldn't possibly lift their arms up over their head and switching heads from one body to another. It's horrible and establishes a standard of beauty and living that just isn't attainable.

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  4. Ha, good one. Is there anything more disgusting than a human pore? It's a good thing that I am perfect in every way or those ads would make me feel self-conscious.

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