Drive up to Portland, why I don’t like most self help books, a fascinating conversation, and more :)

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So it’s now Day 2 in Portland and I’m really enjoying it.Before I get to that though (which’ll probably be another post), I’ve been meaning to journal about the drive up.

(The post is kind of long, so I’m going to be writing it in copywriting-style. I’d be curious to hear if that somehow takes away from it’s authenticity for you.)

Okay, so…

The Drive Up:

The actual drive was really interesting. As I was listening to some of the songs on my iPod, they had a completely different meaning to me than they did when I took my other road trip exactly one year ago. I never would’ve anticipated that, but it was an awesome feeling. I grew a lot this year.

I got a speeding ticket on the way over. I’ve gotten out of like… 12 or so tickets, so I guess it was time to pay my dues. The weird thing is, we were having conversation before he even gave me the ticket. He was asking me about the states I visited, what I do with Internet Marketing, etc. Usually those conversations mean I get out of tickets, but I think he already committed to giving me one this time (he might have called for backup too – he thought I was transporting drugs at first) and had caught me on radar. Oh well. :)

So anyway, I was driving to…

The Most Awesome Sublet Ever!

As I mentioned on Twitter, I got an incredible sublet here in Portland.  I got REALLY lucky, because the lady who owns this apartment had pretty much convinced herself she wasn’t going to be subletting. She interviewed 6 people via phone before me, and she couldn’t get a good gut feeling about any of them. She’s very into energy and was super-adamant about only letting someone she felt good about sleep in her bed. It was awesome, because she used the money I paid her to fund a trip to Hawaii. She kept saying “I can’t believe I’m really going!” and now when I talk to her, she says “I still can’t believe I’m really here!”

Anyway – she’s really, really cool. She was talking about moving stuff out of her closet for me, taking down spiritual messages from her wall, etc. to make me feel comfortable… I told her a) I’m happy to see spiritual messages! and b) I’m only here for 2 weeks, there’s no need for her to do any of that. It’s her home.

The sublet’s in the heart of SE Portland and right near a lot of incredible things. It’s a great location.So I tell you all of this because…

It Leads Me To This Fascinating Conversation:

I talked with a hotel owner the day before I got here. I was telling him about the sublet owner, and he said “I guess there are some good people left in this world.”!?

That blew my mind.

He really meant it.

I don’t know… I just feel like… I think everyone I meet is a “good person”. Sure, there’s lots of flakes in L.A., but they’re still good people. And that’s not the whole “positive thinking” thing… it’s a fact. I’ve traveled cross country a few times, as you probably know – hit 40 states so far – and I’ve been positively surrounded by “good people”. What a self-limiting thought to really believe the majority of people aren’t “good”.

Now, trust me here…

I’m Not A Fan Of Those Think-Positive Books.

…and I try to stay as grounded as possible. Sure, I journal about things I’m grateful for. I try to see positives in everything and am 100% confident that everything happens for our highest good. HOWEVER, I think those books delude a lot of people for 2 reasons:

1) People separate themselves from reality with all the “I KNOW it’s going to work out!” stuff. Sure – positive thinking’s awesome and I strongly believe you shouldn’t let obstacles stop you… but you have to do the WORK to get out of obstacles. I think a lot of people stop at thinking positive and then wonder why it doesn’t work out.I was reading Life’s Golden Ticket by Brandon Burchard. It’s a cool book where a guy goes through a spiritual journey, and you can kind of identify your own progress via him. There’s one point where the main character sees a montage of scenes in his life, and he’s doing a lot of things he doesn’t like. He screams, “That’s not me! I’m not that person!

His “guru”, I guess, for the sake of your understanding, replied, “That’s psychobabble bullshit.” His point was that it IS him. If he wanted to change those aspects of himself, so be it… but he had to first understand them and acknowledge them.Most people don’t do that.And the other reason I don’t like those books, is…

2) “We must truly know the darkness before we can truly see the light.” 

Jaime really helped me understand this. Before I moved to L.A., I intellectualized everything. I didn’t allow myself to feel pain, or anything sad really, because  I figured it was a waste of time. I didn’t allow myself to listen to sad or negative songs, and surrounded myself with all things positive.

In retrospect, I think that’s delusional. Not only is it delusional, but it’s an absolute crime. After growing more and allowing myself to get pissed off, upset, etc. about things… when I feel bliss, it feels 10x more real than anything I ever experienced before.I just think most people don’t allow themselves to open themselves up that, especially with the whole “think positive! just think positive!” movement.

Now, I’m not saying they’re poorly intentioned. Sometimes you have to deliver messages in increments. For example, with yayFOOD, I tell people about calorie cycling. I don’t tell them about eating healthy or anything – if they ask, I’ll tell them – but for now, the first step is just for them to learn about the calorie cycling. People can’t feel overwhelmed. I get it.But still…having zillions of those ‘think positive’ books on the market, in my opinion, isn’t doing people as much good as they think.

So anyway,

Back To The Conversation…

Despite the opinions I just expressed, I still think it’s crazy to feel like most people aren’t good people.I was actually talking to Justin Zimmerman about this yesterday. Like I said, I’ve traveled a lot.  I can immediately reference tons of amazing people that I’ve met.  I remember meeting a guy at a coffee shop in Seattle who took an entire day off to show me around. Or the guys I met at Laguna Beach who made me sleep over (there were locks on my door :)) so I wouldn’t sleep in my car. Or even the lady who owns this sublet – she made me a zillion maps and notes and everything to make sure I had the best time possible.To feel like the majority of people aren’t “good”… I don’t know, it just really got me thinking a lot.

There’s a lot more I could blog about, but I feel like I should end it here. I’ll have to write more soon, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the copywriting style, the “good people” comment, the positive thinking movement, and whatever else. :)

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0 thoughts on “Drive up to Portland, why I don’t like most self help books, a fascinating conversation, and more :)”

  1. I like books like “Life’s Golden Ticket”. It’s much more inspiring and motivating than any kind of “self-help” books I’ve read. Dan Millman’s books (“The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior”, etc) are very uplifting. So’s listening to people like you talk about your successes with people like Willie.

    I lived in Hillsboro for a couple of years back when it was still mostly farm land. That’s way out west of Portland. I got tired of the constantly gray skies. But that was Sept-April. This time of year is gorgeous up there.

    I think people are basically good. It helps a lot if you’re attractive and have a pretty smile. ;) But generally speaking, if you can get people to listen to what you have to say, they tend to be quite open and friendly. And it’s often easier when you’re traveling, because people love sharing about their town.


  2. No, no, you’re right. I usually am in Japan, but am home for the summer (to plan my wedding!) I’m across the river in Washington, but Portland is about 15 min. away.

    Okay, emailing you soon. Stoked to meet you!

  3. Walt – haha… well.. I guess you can get insight from some people… but most of them are not super-stellar, in my opinion. :)

    Tajwar – Agreed! =)

    Jaime – I KNOW… I never would’ve believed it either. You have been absolutely invaluable to me. I love you so freaking much!!!

    Rebecca – You’re in Portland!? I didn’t know that for some reason… always think of you in Japan, even though you twittered me about the road trip. LET’S DO IT!!! I’m here till the 22nd and would absolutely ADORE getting together. =)

  4. Great post, Rach. It brought tears to my eyes to see you talk about exploring the darkness to know the light. A couple months ago you would have scoffed at that!

    You’ve helped me grow and see so much as well.

    And I love the copywriting style. Your message is so authentic it doesn’t take away from it at all.

  5. Hey Rach:-)

    Glad to see your trip is going well:-)

    I dig the copywriting style….it doesn’t phase the message at all:-)

    As far as the self-help thing goes I agree and disagree..but also agree.
    Many self help books are very well meaning but many times leave out main points that people NEED.



  6. Elisabeth,

    Thanks for the insightful comment. :)

    You’re right, of course – some self help books are good. I mean really, it’s hard for me to say anything’s BAD – it all depends on how you interpret anything.

    I just feel like most people don’t interpret those books in a way that I support.

    As far as the whole “self improvement” thing – ie “do i need to improve” – sure, everyone can always better themselves, I think. Life’s all about improving. But like you said – people take it as they’re “bad” – and then it goes back to the whole interpretation thing.

    Interesting that you came here to the USA because of that attitude. Even more interesting that you made a website on it. :)

    And the flood story – I LOVE IT! Thank you for sharing. =)

  7. Some good points about self-help books. But as you say, there are good ones to be found among the mediocre ones, and then there are some that aren’t so hot at all…

    But overall, I love them, just because even the presence of the bad ones help create and reinforce that genre that has brought about so much helpful stuff. And even the not so hot ones often have valuable morsels of helpful info. One day, I’ll dig through all the books on my shelves and find that info and put it in one big new book (best of…).

    And then, of course, there’s that issue about what exactly IS self-help and what does it mean. Some people equate it with self-improvement, which implies there’s a “need” to improve, i.e., they are bad.

    I take it to mean something more in line of self empowerment and even self-discovery.

    Having come to the U.S. as a grad student, I was so enchanted with that “can do” and, yeah, even that “be all you can be” attitude that was/is so pervasive here and that was so glaringly absent where I came from, that I just HAD to stay, and so here I am.

    One more thing your post made me think of:

    That story or parable about the guy in a big flood, who rejected offers of help one after the other, first a boat, then another boat, then a helicopter, as he was sitting on the roof of his house to escape the water, telling everybody, “God will save me.”

    And then, he drowns. When he gets to heaven, he asks God why he wasn’t saved. And God said, “I sent you TWO boats AND a helicopter!”


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