Self-Transformation to the Existentialist Realm

by Kenneth Rayman on August 6, 2017
I heard Vishen Lakhiani state some beliefs of his that have become part of my mindset in the past year and then something about his religious beliefs that I feel the same way on and I knew I made another connection to another “teacher” in my self-development. I got his book and as I read the introduction and first chapter, something stirred inside me. I felt like what I had been doing, listening to these “mentors from afar” like Mel Robbins, Vishen, Tom Bilyeu, Gary Vaynerchuk, and The Art of Charm, was leading me to question, more and more, the world around me. Did I really feel like that another book would suddenly flip the switch to personal fulfillment or success? Did I care that I was just in a bar reading a deeply thought-provoking book? When Andrey, the hotel bartender in Moscow, was asking where my book was, did he think it was funny that I was reading about high finance and “solving for happy” in my free time?

As I thought that I was reminded of two George Carlin jokes. When he says “It’s the quiet ones you gotta watch… ‘spose you’re in a bar and one guy sitting over the side reading a book not bothering anybody, ‘nother guy standing at the front with a machete banging on the bar saying, ‘I’ll kill the next motherfucker who comes in here’… Who you gonna watch?” I had a little chuckle at that thinking back to Andrey’s comment and the looks I might be getting at that moment. The other joke was inspiration about the process of self-development itself, “… It’s just a list of people who ought to be killed! … Starting with these people who read self-help books; Why do so many people need help? Life is not that complicated. You get up, you go to work, you eat three meals, you take one good shit, and you go back to bed. What’s the fuckin’ mystery?”

I thought, “Why does the concept of self-help, personal development, life coaching, and self-care get an under the breath chuckle, maybe an eye roll, and a quick change of the subject?” Maybe it’s because it’s been built up societally to be portrayed that you become a person that cares openly about obscure things and talks about it constantly in ways that make people groan. Maybe it’s because it’s portrayed in movies and other fictional media as a person with flowers in their hair, “feeling one with Mother Earth,” and spouting outlandish things like they just took a hit of LSD.

My journey, as I mentioned in “Finding My Way,” was born out of a rock-bottom moment. I wasn’t looking for a quick answer, a quote to make me feel good, or some form of validation to sooth my hurt ego. I was looking for a process to start real change in a pattern I finally realized had not been fixed by realizing my dream. The people I found were multimillionaire’s in their industries, building businesses around their self-help products or messages that could steer the casual seeker off course to “I want that!” instead of “This needs fixed.” So I knew my focus was different, I made the conscious decision that my path wouldn’t waver. I didn’t want to make exorbitant amounts of money in my own company, like these entrepreneurs were referencing with some of the people that follow them. I wanted self-awareness and self-care. Professionally, it was about emotional intelligence and later, work-life balance.

I learned at a quick pace, feeling the inner peace that what I learned brought and encouraged it’s continuation. I heard Gary Vaynerchuk say that he’s health journey was one that he needed to have accountability because if not it would fall apart and it was the same way for me. If I was done reading, listening, or watching, I knew I might fall back in the same patterns. Then I came across Mo Gawdat and later, Vishen Lakihani. Their discussions reached into the existential of self and stripping away the influence of any stimuli or code of conduct and told you to think of the bigger picture. And after Vishen’s discussion on the expiration of usefulness to some rules and doctrines, it connected dots with Mo’s thoughts that you control your own outcomes. Be mindful of potential biases or external influences but you are in control of you and your happiness, outlook, and outcome are a direct result of your control of self.

This sparked the thought, “Is this why Self-help, life coaching, and motivational quotes get an eye-roll? Because we seem to have become someone different? Or is it because we decided that we don’t focus on the problem but the process of solution and it runs counter to the narrative?”

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