Okay. So let’s keep it 100% funky. You all know about Rhonda Byrne. If you were alive in 2006, and well outside of pre-school, then you’re familiar with this lady. She’s the creator of The Secret–both the film and book. And while her philosophies, ideas, and self-help methods were nothing new (start by looking up Ester Hicks); it ushered in a tsunami of law of attraction seekers looking to reclaim their lives with the power of positive thinking. From Oprah to the New York Times bestsellers, Byrne and her Secret were everywhere. She became global, with her book translated in over 50 languages while selling double-digits by millions. Naturally, when someone reaches an audience this wide and varied with a belief so nonconformist, controversy comes intact. Therefore, while those following Byrne believed they could create change in their lives with positive thinking (financial or otherwise), there were those who felt Byrne's belief created harm by deluding those who followed it.
When it comes to self-help and positive thinking, I take a more Louise Hay approach. However, that’s not to negate that I didn’t find Hay via the popularity of The Secret. I was working at Borders in 2006; I saw the crowds, processed the orders, stocked the shelves, and shared conversations with excited consumers of The Secret. I even fought with a manager about The Secret’s relevance and system. So, yes, I indulged in The Secret's fame and ideas. I believed that maybe I could find my way into an art school, own a reliable laptop, and find a better job by applying Byrne’s borrowed principles. Except for one other desire, that I shall not name, I can say eventually the things I wanted to create happened. Was it The Secret? I can’t say because they all happened in their own time.
Nonetheless, I lost touch with The Secret as I moved into Louise Hay’s territory. I even sold my copy of the book to put gas in my car for a trip home. A couple of years ago, I restocked my shelf when I found it at a used bookstore. Just for safekeeping, I suppose.
I don’t like to make any claims without specific examples. I don’t like to push, but rather suggest. But what I will say, and stand behind as it concerns The Secret, is that life is so much better when you at the very least give yourself some kind of hope and will to believe. So I may not quite realize whether positive thinking can bring me a bouquet of flowers, but I can appreciate rearranging my thoughts and emotions outside of the doldrums of negativity. Negativity is poison. And if you dislike being around someone who wallows in it, then chances are that sometimes include yourself.
This leads me to Byrne’s latest (I think out of four publications), Hero. It became my bedtime read, or something to relax with. What Byrne and her new team of influential people do in Hero is map readers along a path headed toward his or her personal idea of success. It’s nowhere near as industrial or even utilitarian as it sounds, so don’t expect anything close to something written by Robert Kiyosak or Napoleon Hill. No, Hero is a lot softer; but, frankly, heavily clichéd. That’s not to say it isn’t inspiring–as the true gem comes from Byrne’s success team sharing their personal stories. However, as the material goes, I would file it under a “heard it all before” heading. Though worth the retelling, I should add. Seriously, this stuff never gets old.
Byrne splits Hero into parts, and uses the Hero’s Journey monomyth as the layout to deliver. So there’s the induction of you–the hero–being called to adventure (realizing your dream). From there you'll refuse the call, take on tests and tasks, gain allies and make enemies, and then hit the road back home to help others. All of this, once again, implemented with stories and ideas relating what we face on the path toward our dreams. And like I said, it’s all very cliché. Anyone picking up this book should know by now the importance of being true to yourself. Or following your bliss toward success. The same can be said for the importance of practicing gratitude in the face of adversity. As well as believing in yourself when the “chips are down.” (See what I did there?) The chapter on naysayers and allies breeds the same overused message of ignoring those pesky negative Nancy people, and fostering good relationships with those who are in support of you. So like I said, all of this and more are present and in use here. Also, there are no definitive tools and exercises given to either combat obstacles or uphold your stance on staying on the "hero’s path." However, there are suggestions–though what I saw as light and apparent ones.
There are no degrees to reading and applying self-help books. So I saw Hero as something more for those dedicated to Byrne post The Secret, or those new to self-help as a whole. Then again, it’s perfect for people like myself that need a burst of motivation during a trying time.
And in saying that, I must share my favorite passages from the book before I have to return it to the library.
When we see someone follow their dream, we can get the mistaken idea that they must have had privileges to be able to do it. In fact, it happens the other way around; it's when you decide to take the leap into the Hero's Journey that the privileges come. When you commit to your dream, it's as though any person who can help you with your dream is summoned by the Universe to be right there for you with everything you need at the exact time you need it.
If your commitment begins to waver at any time on the Hero's Journey, through disappointment, rejected, or something that didn't go the way you thought it would go, those are the times when you need to remind yourself that you are always being moved to your dream in the way that will bring about the greatest outcome.
Unless you want to wake up and do the same thing every day, you need to be a fighter. You need to be a warrior if you want to make a difference, if you want to be significant. I wanted to be significant. I wanted to do things that would change my life, and would change people's lives. I cannot be ordinary.
When your work is your bliss, you will be happy. Doing a job you think you should do instead of doing what you love is leading a false life. So many precious people are living a life that has been put upon them by well-meaning parents, teachers, or society, or even by a friend or partner, and they're miserable. We're seeing the evidence of the misery in people through the alarming increase of mental health problems in the world. Shut out what everyone else thinks, have the courage to follow your own bliss, and you will be immensely happy.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking and don't settle.
Many people give up on their dreams or don't even begin to pursue them because from where they are standing they can't see the whole path to their dream. You will never see the whole path ahead, and so you will never know how your dream is going to come true. No successful person has ever known how his or her dream would happen. They simply believed that it would happen, and did not give up until it had.