By Jim Selman | BioJulia Baird has a nice piece in the September 25th issue of Newsweek called “Positively Downbeat”. She’s commenting on Americans’ obsession with being happy and the billions we spend to learn “the secret”. It’s all about quick and easy fixes for life’s dilemmas and the not-so-small industry of consultants, motivational speakers and authors that are standing in the wings to offer answers and potions. She rightly points to the grand daddy of all self-help offerings, “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale and its latest incarnation “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne as archetypical examples of this genre.
I am not against the intentions behind our quest for happier and richer lives. Like millions of others, I can nod my head in agreement with most of the wisdom contained in these offerings. I have been a self-help junkie myself in the past. But as I get older, I have learned that I am not my ‘thinking’ and the little voice in my head is not always my friend. Most recovered alcoholics and addicts will tell you that it was their ‘thinking’ that took them to their