Dear People Who Write Self-Help Guides & Life Hacks
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE STOP.
I’m sure you’re really awesome and successful, and I’m sure you drink more water and eat more superfoods and defecate a richer shade of brown than the rest of us lowly Joe Shmoes, but you’re taking over the Internet with your “how-tos” and they’re exhausting to read.
If I tried to adhere to every recommendation currently suggested in the top 20 posts on Medium, I would essentially become a AN UNSTOPPABLE ENTREPRENEUR with no social life and Buddha/Yoda-like tendencies. And as awesome as Buddha AND Yoda are, I like speaking in sentences longer than four or five words and wearing something more substantial than a robe.
I know your posts are written with the best of intentions. You write them in hopes of sharing with the world all the insightful experiences you’ve experienced and lessons you’ve learned throughout your life. You feel that people are always searching for a better life and can benefit from your teachings.
And some of us do.
But many of us don’t. We like being Farty-Mcfarts who wake up at 10AM, and we like the occasional cocktail, Swiss Cake Roll or Swiss Cake Roll-flavored cocktail, and dare I say, we may even like our middle class income that still affords us a rich life with family and friends. Hell, we even like bowling.
Many of us have goals and dreams, and we’re ok if we don’t become the most powerful or the richest in our endeavors. We don’t want to become Tony Robbins; we’re ok with being Tony from Who’s the Boss or Tony from Saturday Night Fever. At least they have good hair.
Sometimes we read your posts and think, “Hot damn. Am I loser for not meditating every day? Am I an embarrassment to humanity because I sometimes I gossip, feel sad or swear like a fucking sailor? Am I a deadbeat for not taking more risks in my professional life? Should I just leave my perfectly stable job and go after my lifelong dream of opening up a pet photography studio named Shutterpug?”
You see, your posts suggest that we’re not living good life unless we’re rich, successful or 100% happy all of the time. And the truth is, none of us are 100% happy all of the time and many of us count success as being able to provide for our families and spend meaningful time with our friends. Many of us don’t have the luxury to throw it all away and start over, and many of us work well in the chaos of our lives. Our lives don’t need to be project managed.
May I suggest dipping your toes into a different writing format for 2016? Instead of life advice listicles or titles that begin with the Five Ws, why not a creative story or two? Here are a couple of suggestions:
- ) A novella about a red-headed boy who befriends a narwhal. The narwhal follows him to school and spears bullies who pick on him. The narwhal is later cornered by a mob of townspeople and stoned to death. The boy saws off the narwhal’s tusk and wears it in a bandolier across his chest for the rest of his life.
- ) Erotic fiction starring Tony Danza.
- ) A short story about a Jack Russell Terrier who runs for mayor of New York City. Just as the Jack Russell is gaining public favor, he’s photographed snorting coke off a prostitute’s body in an underground sex dungeon. He quickly falls from grace and lives out the rest of his life working as a much beloved waiter at an Italian restaurant in New Jersey.
- ) An essay on the perils of using recycled toilet paper.
Someone Who Has Only Tried Yoga Once and She Almost Passed Out