Tag Archives: self-help

An Important Reason Why Podcasts Are More Popular Than The News Media


The News Media say:

There’s a problem and no institution or government is doing anything to fix it.

The Podcasts say:

There’s a problem and you can fix it—here’s how.

Wait, That’s Generalizing!

Yes, but I recently heard a segment on NPR in which the reporter moved seamlessly from describing a problem through interviews to identifying the fact that no government program exists to address the problem.

And I remember thinking the problem didn’t seem like the kind of thing we Americans usually take before City Council or Congress.

Then it dawned on me that most of the podcasts I’ve been listening to over the last year—like The Tim Ferriss Show, The Art of Charm, The Art of Manliness—had a strikingly different angle.

The podcasts often focus on things I can do to overcome my problems, and the hosts interview people who discovered new resources of resilience, innovation, and ingenuity in the face of difficulties.

Of course not all problems can be solved by an individual on his/her own. Sometimes you, I, need real help from others. Good government can play a healthy role in a civil society.

But consider the general inclinations and the basic outlooks in old media and new.

The old news media assumes, more often than not, that elected officials and governmental bodies are the first sources of solutions.

The newer realm of podcasts, more often than not, tells you how you can be the first source of your solutions.

What a significant difference in attitude.

And the latter is so much more appealing.

Status


Status is its own mode of self-destruction.

It depends not upon the self’s improvements, nor the soul’s refinements, nor God’s blessings, nor Fortune’s smiles, but upon the variable winds of others’ opinions. Status is tasty and unreliable. Instead, seek selfhood.

The Latest Self-Help Advice? “F*ck Feelings” | Acculturated


Old Stoic psychology can be a good thing — Saint Paul probably was influenced by it — and in that vein here’s a contemporary, popular book, reviewed by Acculturated:

A new book called F*ck Feelings is, well, all the rage.

On its face, the volume cries out for disdain…. The genre—self-help—practically invites ridicule. And the bloated text, which oscillates between tough love and outright fatalism, could be boiled down to Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

There just isn’t much original material here. Are you wondering if a problem is not what happens, but your reaction to it? Marcus Aurelius got there first: “If you are distressed by anything external,” he observed, “the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

If the issue is a false perception of reality—and isn’t that so often a plausible diagnosis?—well, this news was delivered in the middle of the last century by Albert Ellis, who emphasized unrealistic thinking when he pioneered cognitive behavioral therapy…. Ellis in turn got the news from Socrates, who found ignorance (and perhaps worse yet, ignorance of one’s own ignorance) to be at the bottom of various ills. People did bad things out of ignorance about what is good, for instance, or succumbed to cowardice due to ignorance about the nature of death.

Yet lots of people who never got the memo from Socrates or Ellis can still benefit from this message, and that is where a book like F*ck Feelings establishes its usefulness. Why sneer? It should be clear by now that self-help books aren’t necessarily bad; they aren’t even new. Ben Franklin, Samuel Smiles, and Arnold Bennett wrote interesting self-help manuals long before any of us were born.

Read the rest of this review: The Latest Self-Help Advice? “F*ck Feelings” | Acculturated