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Self Help or Self Deception?
on June 19, 2008
21 Distinctions of Wealth is a self- help book that concentrates its efforts on changing one's attitude and life outlook through the repetition of affirmations relating to several specific areas of wealth and abundance. Starting with the proclamation that everyone is already rich in their own unique way, 21 Distinctions of Wealth continues its positive message all the way to the book's final chapter. The idea promoted here is that, through repetition of positive affirmations each day, a life of great abundance and prosperity is just around the corner.
After reading 21 Distinctions of Wealth, it is apparent that this self- help guide is a little different than others. Yes, it does talk about achieving a life of abundance and wealth and, like many self- help books, it stresses the use of positive thinking to achieve the desired results. But 21 Distinctions of Wealth is unique in several ways. First, it isn't strictly about positive thinking and nothing more. There is also some practical advice in this guide, like debt management and self- control. Second, there is some advice that isn't surreal and that most anyone will agree is sensible, like the Distinction that says "Wealth Comes in Many Forms". Most anyone would agree that wealth isn't just about money- a person can experience wealth in the form of unconditional love, family support, and other means. These facts make 21 Distinctions a little bit different from other guides that often promote positive thinking as the only thing necessary to achieve goals.
These practical chapters and others like them are useful, but some of the other advice in 21 Distinctions of Wealth might be tough for every reader to swallow. The basic premise of this book is that each one of us has the power to make great things happen and to achieve abundance if only we would think positively and believe in our positive thoughts. The latter part of the previous sentence is key: Thinking positive is only the start- what will really transform one's life and lead to greatness is convincing the self that these positive thoughts are reality. For example, it is one thing to tell yourself that you have many positive gifts to share with the world, but it another thing entirely to actually believe that what you are saying to yourself is true. This sounds a little like self- deception, but the book is quick to point out that it is not this way at all because everyone already has talents and riches to a great degree. The key is realizing how great these talents and riches already are. Once the self has been convinced, the attitude is improved, others will notice and treat the person differently, and the forces in the universe will take over and help make the desired outcomes take place.
Is this all a little far- fetched? I say yes and no. Yes, it is a little outrageous to assume that positive thinking is going to suddenly make everything better and cause waterfalls of cash to drown an individual in unforeseen abundance. But on the other hand, there is a certain amount of truth to what this book is saying. It is true that positive attitudes create differences in the reactions of family, friends, and even total strangers. People who think they are a certain way, even if they exaggerate a little bit, often invoke reactions from others that fit the attitude. For example, if you feel you are a highly intelligent and articulate person and it shows in your attitude, people whom you come in contact with on a daily basis will behave differently toward you than before. Once you are convinced in your personal affirmations, others will slowly come to believe the same things and great things could very well follow. In other words, if you think you're hot stuff, others will think so, too.
Where 21 Distinctions of Wealth loses me a little bit isn't when it talks about the relationships with others and perceptions of others, but rather about the forces of the universe and how it will answer your wishes if you sincerely believe in what you are saying/feeling. I can think of many people who have been talking and thinking positively for decades and achieved very little progress toward their goals. What would 21 Distinctions of Wealth say about that? Would it say that these individuals are not sincere enough? That they are not concentrating strongly? What if they are concentrating very strongly? Is it simply not the will of the universe to make these things happen? And if the universe has to want it to happen to make it happen, then doesn't that mean that everything is out of our hands anyway?
This book is all about creating positive energy and reaching personal fulfillment, and it offers some hits and misses. I rank it higher than other think positive self- help guides due to its avoidance of completely surreal and/or spiritual overtones. There is some sensible advice here and some universal truths that anyone can accept. Whether or not you buy into the notion that the universe will recognize your positive vibrations and bring you great abundance is up to you. But there are some good points to this book, and its optimistic tone and other factors convince me to recommend it as a possible answer those in need of a life- changing boost.