Where other bloggers put on airs of authority and intellect, the Z Man is the real deal. He scoffs at the gurus and self-improvement experts, noting (correctly) that those that are not outright frauds, often sell little more than common sense. Why would anyone pay for that?
And my response is this: common sense ain't that common! I was raised by liberal parents. Canada, even our 'conservative' parts of it - is pretty much a liberal country. Canada is leading the USA by about 10 years down that progressive liberal toilet, and nowhere is it more apparent than with the kids in school. It was like that when I was a kid too. When I was 18, the colleges and universities were screaming bloody murder about the quality of kids trying to enroll in their programs. 'Are you even TRYING to educate these kids?' they bitched. And our public school "educators" just shrugged because they are unionized pooch screwers who don't have to be accountable to anyone, and couldn't really care less about the kids.
As a teen I hit the job market and just got blown away. I couldn't land a decent job in our oil bust economy of the time, and even if I did I wouldn't have been able to hold it. I hadn't grown up yet. My life got REALLY complicated when my girlfriend got pregnant. Our first couple years together were damned tough. Eventually I landed a tolerable job, one that afforded me a few luxuries beyond food, diapers, and rent. One day I spied General Stormin' Norman Schwartzkopff's autobiography on the book rack - and I blew my allowance on it.
The General's message was simple: Take responsibility for the problems in your life and own them. That's the only way you can solve them. Set goals for yourself. Make sure they are realistic. Then - don't look back. Commit to them heart and soul. Expect and overcome failure - and never give up. When you accomplish them, set new goals and rinse and repeat. He backed that up with anecdotes from his own experience. I remember being utterly stunned by the simplicity of it. "All I gotta do is be a grown man, think, work hard - and I get ahead? Instead of making excuses and beating up on myself??? Who woulda thunk it???"
That was about 25 years ago. I started applying the General's life advice and lo and behold - my personal problems started falling away. Inch by inch, my young family started to get ahead, little by little. I went to school as a mature student and did well. When I got out, we bought a modest house and some new mid to low end vehicles. We paid our debts off as fast as we could and stuck to tough budgets and saved. By the time I hit my mid 30's we were closing in on the Joneses. By the time we were in our 40's we ran neck and neck with them, and now we've left most of them in the dust. I had dealt with my problems and demons just as the General advised. My wife supported me through thick and thin and kept me going when I faltered.
If you open your ears and your eyes, shut your gob and think ...
you can pull your head out of the muck. Keep pulling,
and your ass will follow.
Problem was that others saw our success too and figured that if we could deal with our problems so well, we could handle theirs too, right? After all, we were 'lucky' and 'we had advantages they never had'... and they began to throw their crap at us to deal with. I can think of no better way to fail than that. Our family cracked under the strain, and of course it was all MY fault! That guilt trip even worked for awhile; and it brought me low more than once. Then my wife pushed my nose into another book - the bible, and she introduced me to men that were experts on it. When they're preachin and speachin - they sound exactly like General Schwartzkopff did. People often think the bible was written to control men; and most of the idiots that say that probably haven't read it. That book is about you controlling yourself.
Unlike me, those men can and do take ownership of other people's problems. They partner up with people, advise them, loan or give them cash to get started - and they save the odd person the same way The General saved me.
I believe there is a place for the "gurus" these days, and anybody that preaches common sense, maturity and responsibility - is somebody to be cherished and heard.