10 April, 2009

Have you ever wondered why self-help books are almost always from America? Ever wondered why even Indians like Shiv Khera & Robin Singh and  authors of other countries,  start writing when they land up in the US? 

Most of these self-help books border on the philosophy of a fulfilling life, mostly through knowing how to make money. We are supposed to be big on philosophy. But not much is written here which a normal person can use to better his mundane life. Not counting “ Count your chickens, before they hatch”, nothing much of the inspirational / self-help stuff has come out of India.

How come?

US is an idea – an idea that you dream about & realize – something like what Mumbai is to us. It is a state of mind – an attitude. US is capitalistic. It means dollars. It sells dreams – it’s Hollywood, it’s lifestyle…

And most of all, US worships money. Their attitude towards money is different from ours.

US embraces money. They create it ( dollars ). They have been able to sell it till date, effectively. With the US economy in tatters, the dollar should have plummeted, right?  But the dollar has appreciated – against all major currencies… because US assets ( treasuries are a proxy for the dollar itself ) are seen as safe havens, in times of distress. Fancy that!

Inspite of an economy that has been driven into mud, it is seen as the asylum of the last resort!  Such is the aura that US has created.

All economies with surpluses in their books have US treasuries in their books – China has over $600 billion. US needs to sell more to China & others to keep it’s economy afloat – and it will.

It’s their Attitude!

We Indians think in terms of rationing, deficits… They are weaned on a dream of abundance – of possibilities sans limitations, of opportunity for all.

So, is it any wonder that they come up with all these amazing self-help books.  “The Secret” is one of the recent ones, which is a mix of philosophy, attitude & power of the mind – all bundled into a beautiful, eminently readable book.  US is good at packaging – they are the dream merchants, you see.  The book talks about possibilities – it talks of the possibility of making your dreams come true - be it mansions, cars or other bling-blings.  It draws on the power of positive thinking & auto suggestion. So here is a book on how to just harness the energy in the Universe into fulfilling all your dreams & desires through what the author calls “the law of attraction”. I was mighty impressed with this book – not because of what it said – but how nicely it has been packaged. I fully agree that it will work for those who implicitly trust in their power to attract their destiny.

In Hinduism, we talk of total surrender to the Lord, after which your every need is taken care of by the Lord. We also have heard of why we should keep talking positively as anything uttered by us – good or bad -  is blessed with Thathhasthu or so be it.. That is why, our elders keep saying that we should keep talking positively. So, this is not new territory for many of us. But this philosophy has been made accessible & it’s applicability in a normal joe’s life has been explained and has been made more powerful with annotations and real life examples. Instead of the arcane surrender & talk positive routine, Rhonda Bryne, the author, has outlined what is in it for you and how to make it work, in the typical American style. Though she talks about many facets, achievement of material nirvana predominates! She quite credibly  gives the positive & powerful message that Everything is possible.

“Rich Dad Poor Dad” is another one of those books which uses the commonsensical approach to money and addresses our fallibilities with his creation – the poor dad. It talks about risk taking, approach to money, attitude towards money, success etc. Again a practical & eminently readable book.

These are books that America produces – books that propagate hope. They convey that powerful message that you have the power to change things, wherever you come from. That’s  an attitude. And America is probably what it is, due to that attitude - that everything is possible.  So many of them have internalized it and have lived the American dream of making it big. They are still the richest nation in the World and they even make the money that makes the World go round! 

We need to learn these things from the US – their never-say-die Attitude and their attitude towards money.  Not for nothing is the US the most powerful & influential nation in the world. Money talks. Let us get this first. 

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