FIVE-MINUTES A DAY
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | January 2013 (edited 2018)
Navigating the billion-dollar self-help industry to discover true solutions to our problems.
We have seen the advertisements; three monthly payments of 19.99 to achieve magical results—the body of your dreams. We want a successful life; but are misled by remarkable promises of results without remarkable effort—simple and fast. DO THIS; RECEIVE THAT. Marketing creates want. “You need this,” they tell us. Companies research what people want and then market and sell it (for a profit). By increasing the want, they increase the market. If enough people want something, someone will offer it.
We want to feel better, achieve more, and work less. Marketers know this. The well-being industry has exploded into a multi-billion-dollar industry, wrenching money from our pockets by promising happiness with ease. While promises tantalize desires for happiness, requiring little effort, the results usually fall short of expectation, leaving us disappointed and discouraged.
Significant change, toppling entrenching habits, demands more than a magical cure. Before beginning any program to change, we must prepare for the insignificant results likely to follow. Benefits stubbornly wait for consistency before blessing our lives; change first arrives in small imperceptible drops, slowly accumulating. But over the years, changes pour in, soaking us with opportunity and joys. Evaluating progress early in legitimate processes is difficult. The complexity of life blurs direct correlations. Our minds manipulate facts, confuse feelings, and bias results. A simple musing over costs and benefits succumbs to hope, pessimism and present moods; exploiting assessments to produce the answer we prefer.
A single compassionate act, even when properly motivated, may not be rewarded. Those unfamiliar with a new commitment to kindness may suspiciously view our benevolence as manipulative. Thoughtful decency may prompt a hurtful response. We need patience; change isn’t a single act. Transformations occur in the heart, eventually expressed in better action. We’re not faking action when a behavior is not natural; we’re showing commitment to new action that doesn’t flow easily. There is some substance to the oft used dictum, “fake it till you make it.”
For example, a compassionate life, sprouting from character, doesn’t grant immunity from sorrow; but does, however, build connections. Over time, as compassion blossoms, we experience the delights of living, free from burdensome jealousies and vexing competitions. Strengthening connections provide toughness and vitality. The kind-hearted aren’t exempt from the pains of disloyalty; but they do have additional support to work through the emotional injures when disloyalty strikes.
In order to grow, we must sift through the hubris of misguided advice, giving attention not to be deceived by alluring promises. Marketing won’t stop, relentlessly casting in their lines when the fish keep biting (buying). We will constantly be bombarded with promises of ease. Step back before you succumb to the seductive offers, recognize the emotional pull, and then engage life in a constructive way.
Our growth will come by consistently making healthier choices, abandoning the ridiculous in exchange for the proven. We do this through mindfulness, understanding our feelings, identifying influences, and maintaining a clear vision of the desired future. As awareness improves, so does skilled responses. This path to improved living requires a life time commitment; never mastered from mindless dabbling. We can be persistent, mindful, and skilled at living our lives. We can enjoy the moment while preparing for the future. Spare the 19.99, and soak in the current beauties surrounding you. Here, in the peace of the moment, we expand, love and live.