Some of you may remember I rambled quite a bit around New Year’s about the goals and dreams I have for myself and this blog. I’ll leave a link to one of the posts, to remind anyone who cares which books I had thought about reviewing.
I tried to set up poll, but I don’t know if it just didn’t take, or if nobody was interested. I’m going to go off the “wild card” list in that post and do some random thoughts on the first 100 pages of The One Minute Millionaire, cowritten by Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame, and Robert G. Allen, famous for writing books about wealth building in real estate.
Has chronic fatigue finally driven your Tired Blogger crazy? Read on and find out!
I’m going to discuss three things about the beginning of the book:
- 1) What’s up with that title?
- 2) What’s up with all those affirmations? Do they really work or am I just wasting my time?
- 3) The “enlightened” millionaire, an idea whose time has come, or have Hansen and Allen started smoking the good stuff? (And will they share)?
I Don’t Know About Anyone Else, But I REALLY Don’t Wanna Be Referred to as a “One Minute Man”…
Anyone else ever heard of “Poe’s Canon”? Of course not! There is no such thing! But Poe did have a rule that I’ve always held to in my efforts. And I can’t find it under any other name, so I am declaring it “Poe’s Canon”! Huzzah hurrah! Hip hip hurrah!
Enotes.com explains it as succinctly as anyone else. “Edgar Allan Poe ‘s belief that it is critical that the first sentence of a story should cause the reader to experience the effect for which the author strives is very well exemplified in his writing.”
The beginning of is so important. Just like how men and women decide within a minute whether they will date someone or not, the average reader is not going to wade through 14 pages of dialectic dissertation about how Keynesian economics is naturally an outgrowth of chaos theory to get to the punch line about the butterfly. But a ten-year-old boy who loves science fiction sits down to a short story entitled A Sound of Thunder, and reads the first sentence “The sign on the wall seemed to quaver under a film of sliding warm water, Eckels felt his eyelids blink over his stare, and the sign burned in this momentary darkness: TIME SAFARI, INC. SAFARIS TO ANY YEAR IN THE PAST. YOU NAME THE ANIMAL. WE TAKE YOU THERE. YOU SHOOT IT.” The boy has no idea what chaos theory is (I doubt Bradbury did at the time he wrote the story), but he learns more about chaos theory in that one sitting than he will learn later from chapter after chapter of the textbook.
My point is, I hate the title. I would never have read it but for extenuating circumstances that influenced me to overcome my distaste for the title.
Possibly I am wrong, but the effort to become a millionaire looks to me like a herculean effort. Unless you inherited it or won it in a lottery, a minute will not earn you a million dollars. So why did they choose this title?
In their introduction they declare that someone in the world becomes a millionaire every sixty seconds. The point isn’t that it only takes you a minute to earn it, but that you can be one of those millionaires. (Yeah, kinda like that click bate that told you how to get any woman to fall in love with you). Then they state that “it only takes a MINUTE to decide” to be a millionaire. And then they state that the “million-dollar idea” (those who have been reading my blog will hopefully remember that concept). Basically, there are all kinds of reasons they chose that title, and to them (and possibly to many of my readers) it seems like a brilliant idea.
Personally, I would have entitled it You Too Can Earn Big Bux (and how to do so Without Being a Jerk. But it is hard to criticize a title that has sold 15 million copies, according to Wikipedia. My opinion may or may not be valid, but it is a fact that that title that I don’t like has sold phenomenally well, whereas I have yet to publish a single book, and have earned less than $300 as a writer thus far. So, take my opinion with a whole lotta salt.
What’s up with all those affirmations? Do they really work or am I just wasting my time?
The book’s biggest principle is that you have to have confidence and a positive mental attitude. I’ll believe the need for confidence, but that the rich are super positive…? That isn’t my experience. When I was young on the farm, yeah, the richer farmers often were the most positive, but to me it begs the question of which caused which. And since I’ve left the farm, my experience has been that the higher up the chain of command you go at Wal-Mart, at Pepsi, basically nearly every company (except Paragon) that I worked for from 1997, till this current company, the higher the odds they were a–holes.
But maybe you don’t just want my admittedly limited experience. Is there any science on the subject? Let’s look at two articles that I think are helpful whether you like affirmations or think they are stupid.
Long and the short, affirmations work for those who already have strong confidence and high self-esteem. While they can still be helpful to those of us who have experienced abuse, many of us not only don’t find them helpful, but we also feel at first that they are a sad, sick mockery. You do you, but from my experience and reading, you first have to get yourself to a certain point of healthy and honest positivity before they become useful. Don’t get discouraged (I know…too late) if you have low self-esteem and try them and they fail. If you have the strength to do so, back off them, and start diving into positivity psychology, and then, if you feel the need to, do the affirmations. I intend to keep doing them for a while mainly just to I can report back.
I will say, I’ve been doing them pretty consistently all month, and they do seem to be helpful for the first time in my life. Maybe I’m finally getting to the point where they are useful. Here are some quotes from the articles you may find useful if you don’t want to read the whole thing.
Healthline.com gives some information about how affirmations work (when they do).
“Neuroplasticity, or your brain’s ability to change and adapt to different circumstances throughout your life, offers a clue to help understand not only what makes affirmations work, but how to make them more effective.
“Your brain sometimes gets a little mixed up on the difference between reality and imagination, which can be surprisingly useful.
“Creating a mental image of yourself doing something — like acing a nerve-wracking interview or conquering your fear of heights by bungee jumping — activates many of the same brain areas that actually experiencing these situations would.”
Positivepsychology.com gives a thorough explanation of Martin Seligman’s work. What I love about this man is that he is the person credited with discovering learned helplessness. I used to try to explain this to bosses at work until I realized that this was actually what they WANT. “Learned optimism is very much a positive psychology concept; it’s the opposite of learned helplessness: a phenomenon whereby individuals believe they are incapable of changing their circumstances after repeatedly experiencing a stressful event (Abramson, Seligman, & Teasdale, 1978; Seligman & Garber, 1980; Maier & Seligman, 2016).”
Seligman felt at that point that psychology is too focused on the negative. His idea was that maybe if we help normal people improve their lot rather than wait till life has crushed them and we have to repair them or support them in their despondency, he started studying the who, what, when, where, why, and to what extent of positivity.
“Three cognitive distortions tend to underpin the way we understand our experiences: personalization, pervasiveness, and permanence. By tackling these distortions, we can learn to be more optimistic.
“Personalization can be thought of as an internal vs. external attribution style. If something bad happens, a pessimist will attribute it to internal factors. They’ll see that failure or setback as something that’s their fault, personalizing the outcome. Optimists externalize instead; they aren’t to blame, and next time may be better.
“Pervasiveness describes the global or specific element of adversity or a negative event. A global or pervasive attribution is pessimistic and closely related to catastrophizing. “I did a terrible job; I’ll never be hired again – EVER.” Someone who views an undesirable outcome as pervasive will also be more inclined to believe that it will impact other aspects of their lives, too. “It means I’m a bad student, too, and unlovable (again).” Optimists see positive events as pervasive, it can be argued, rather than negative ones.
“Permanence is about whether we view a negative situation as fleeting or lasting and unchangeable. A pessimistic explanatory style sounds something like: “I’ll always be a terrible dancer. It’s just who I am.” A positive one sounds more like: “I probably didn’t dance so well because my leg is currently hurting, but I’ll be back on top soon.” The key takeaway here is that the situation or circumstances are not fixed or unchangeable.”
The “enlightened” millionaire, an idea whose time has come, or have Hansen and Allen started smoking the good stuff? (And will they share)?
I don’t want to get too far into the ethics of wealth. Either it is possible to become wealthy and yet be ethical, or it is not. I’ve known people of moderate wealth, even full-fledged millionaires, who I believed were great people. But I have no experience with a billionaire, at that level of wealth my knowledge is limited to what I read.
But again, what do the experts say? I could only find one effort to be scientific about this, and those studies are pretty damning.
The best article defending the virtues of the wealthy is from Forbes.
ABC News reports that the rich were found to be more likely to violate traffic rules and various other measures of ethical behavior are strained by the rich. The scientist behind the study shares that on top of the actual science, there is ample anecdotal evidence sent to him.
“There is this mental frame of mind when you feel like you are at the top,” Keltner said. “You think you are above the law, you think you can get away with stuff and you won’t have to deal with the consequences.
“Police officers have told me that drivers of fancy cars often lecture them when they pull them over for a ticket,” he said. “And construction guys tell me often that if they work at a really wealthy home, it’s hard to get paid, which is absurd.”
Forbes doesn’t exactly paint the rich as great people, but I think they give the best defense out there that I’m actually willing to listen to.
“If you were able to answer each of the questions for a justification you identify with in a positive way, then you’re moving in the right direction to become a self-made millionaire. However, this is not always the case.
“Simply put, becoming wealthy is NOT an entitlement. It’s not a privilege nor is it a right. If you’re healthy and motivated, however, the advantage you have is that you very likely have the opportunity to pursue wealth, or happiness for that matter. It’s taking advantage of this opportunity by actively, forcefully, and smartly pursuing wealth that can potentially become rich.
“Since you don’t deserve to be rich, and presumably you want to be rich, what are you going to do about it?”
What do you readers think? Do you think pursuing wealth is a good use of my time, or would we all be better off just becoming monks and meditating our lives away? Comments wanted. Let me know if you are enjoying learning about this book, or should I move on to something else?
Perhaps money can’t buy happiness, but having “enough money” definitely relieves stress on one’s life… and less stress seems to lead to more happiness.
So, I think I’m still too materialistic to become a monk. But $10k as an “emergency fund” in the bank would certainly be nice.
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💯. Thanks for the comment!