I am in the business of helping people help themselves, or at least guiding them through a journey of self-help. One of my bones of contention with the self-help, positive psychology industry has been the dumbing-down, over optimistic approach to achieving the good life.
Barbara Ehrenreich has a new book out that addresses this issue called Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America She was compelled to write the book because of the deluge of positive psychology she received after finding out she had breast cancer in 2000. She said all that shiny optimism was “like sitting in a warm bubble bath for too long.” You can read the full interview of her here.
I like to think that my approach to the industry is more about challenging people to think for themselves and in doing that, to focus on what they can do and what they do want and not the opposite. And maybe my thinking is left over from the “can do” attitude the army instills in you, or from my mother who beat it into me that “if you want something, go get it. Period!”