Rules and Numbers

Am I the only one that finds ‘inspirational’ and ‘self-help’ books to be quite insufferable? I’ve only ever found one or two that actually made any sense and were written sensibly. I have no idea why people keep asking me to read them. Most of the time, all they are is a collection of advice you already got from your parents and school teachers, backed up by quirky, supposedly amusing and allegedly educational stories (most of which are just cheesy beyond belief). I will not judge anyone for reading them (in fact, I know a few people who have benefited from them in small ways, so yeah…) but I will judge you if you think they can change your life completely. They can’t. No one and nothing can… except you.

(Disclaimer: the following is a rant and this rant is my opinion and mine only. I don’t see why I have to say this since it is MY blog but here I am, saying it anyway. If you are offended by any of the following statements, I hear transformers are feeling lonely… )

Self help books are mostly scams and the people that read them religiously like their lives depend on them are mostly idiots or just extremely desperate. Desperate  to find rules in a world where there are, for the most part, none. All these books do is tell you stuff you already know and make it look fanciful and new. In other cases, they give examples from the lives of others, find some apparently common links and then try to tout these as the basis of some logic through which success, love or whatever other thing they are selling, can be obtained.  Its mostly warmed over toilet philosophy. As I usually say to my friends:

…even if you follow ‘who know road’, na im house e dey go, no be your own…

The 21 laws of power, the 7 habits of highly effective people, the 10 rules of successful dating, the 666 of principles of successful illuminati membership, 13 ways to win the heart of an ogbanje, etc…

Yes, These are the things we need to read...

Even the titles are designed to trick people with the most appealing lie you can use to entice humans: the lie that life can be mastered by applying some simple rules, like solving a simple equation. Apply the rules, get the results. Well excuse me but it think that’s mostly a bullshit burger with a side of ignorance fries and a piss cola.

Lets drift away from ‘inspirational’ and ‘self help’ books  for a moment and dwell on the bigger issue – Life. In my own view, life is a series of seemingly random events, the purpose and design of which only the creator knows. Depending on which version of the creator you believe in, there will be a holy book (a life manual if you will) which tells you what to do and how to live. And even that life manual is sometimes misread and misinterpreted by the so-called experts, who are supposed to be in direction communication with said creator.

Moreover, the rules by which you live, if you have any, are based on a choice. An assumption of sorts, that the version of the creator you have chosen to believe in is the right one. That choice lies in your heart and no matter how much you believe it, it is verifiably true only to you and so is not universally applicable – which brings me back to my original point: there are no GENERALLY applicable rules to life. None whatsoever. To believe that there are is to seek order in chaos. This is why generalizations and the people that make them irk me. I will not say that generalizations are completely useless, nothing really is in all situations. But I will say this: While SOME generalizations are useful, ALL generalizations are invariably wrong.

I guess my point here (if I have any, because lets face it, this is a rant and rants seldom have points to them) is that its more important to be true to yourself and your decisions to live the way you do. Not because you expect it will result in a specific outcome or because its what you have been told will work out a specific way, but because you believe it is the right thing to do, given the situation and your chosen belief, come hell, high water or change of prevailing philosophy.  This is why the world universally celebrates ‘Men of principle’. People who, as far as we know, stayed true to their cause/philosophy/ideas/integrity. Even the most devout of reasonable Muslims, Christians and even Pagans would have trouble berating people like Gandhi or Martin Luther King. That is what I intend to try to be, hard as it may be, because there are no rules or numbers to follow in this multi-grey-shaded world.

Rules and Numbers are simply a very appealing mirage to thirsty travelers on this road of life.

Allow me to end this rant with one of my favorite verses from my own preferred ‘life manual’:

“…For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” – Matthew 5:45


So yeah. I’ve been away from this blog for a while. For those that care, I apologize. It is just what it is. What have I been doing? Winning mostly. Suffering a bit. Creating new cocktails and generally trying to live life. I’ve been guest writing a bit as well. Feel free to check out Brethren, ye are not Kanye of the West and  ANIMAL on, a minor entry ‘Answers Needed…’ in the delightfully ludicrous Writers roundabout  going on at Deola’s blog  as well as a concluding poem ‘Au bord de l’existence’ by myself and @awizii  for the amazing Decades project on the Afrosays to me blog . Decades II is rolling out now and is shaping up to be pretty awesome as well. Afrosays to me is a generally awesome blog and one of my favorites so yeah, check out all their stuff. Cheerio!


33 thoughts on “Rules and Numbers

  1. everyone with half a brain knows self help books are shit. Those who don’t wouldn’t comprehend your logic anyway and still go on reading them.

    Logical conundrum: perhaps to retards, inspirational quotes and 33 step rules , are the way they choose to live their life? Perhaps although you tell them it is wrong, they ‘believe’ it is the ‘right thing to do’? By your own conclusion, you err by berating them.

    P.s. A particular favourite of mine, the sceptics argument- if ALL generalisations are wrong, then this one (generalising about generalisations) is wrong as well,and so it goes, on and on ad nauseum.

    Strong recipe for anarchy btw. Heil Vendetta!

  2. It’s the same thing wit the damn horoscopes! To answer the first question, I agree. You are not the only one who finds self help/inspirational books to be a shitpile of bollocks! Having said that many many many people are ignorant so I’ll write one too.
    ‘How to become a millionaire in 60 seconds’. I’ll encourage my readers to personalize the ‘second’ hence Larry’s 1 second might be Johnbull’s 12 hours. Then, I’ll just encourage them to sell drugs and introduce them to the profitability of armed robbery & prostitution. Responsibly of course…
    my book will sell because pmany seemingly educated people are inexplicably gullible. I know this is a generalisation and it is inaccurate but like u said, it does help. Nothing in the world is accurate to a T.
    I can’t but agree with this post.

  3. Great post, very true points, however, isn’t the generalisation that ‘all generalisations are false’ a generalisation?, which by your theory means it false? 😛 just looking for trouble

  4. But the people who write these books are just criminals sha. Especially that 7 habits guy. After how many years, he has now released ‘The 8th Habit”. I’m like “Really? So, you sisn’t know there was an 8th habit when you wrote the first one?” Bloody fish!

  5. I really liked the way you wrote this man, and you really drove the point home. I got it. I swear to you reading this has gotten me out of a rut I’ve been experiencing for a number of months. I know the only rule is the one I believe deep in my heart, and this has really opened my eyes. I feel liberated reading this. Thank you so much.

  6. Sorry I’m late bruv.

    I was brought up to believe in the rules of tides of Christianity and general humanity. But as I grew older I started noticing discrepancies and asking questions. Questions I was told not to ask but then I also rationalized that an all powerful creator would not be scared of a puny mortal’s questions. Why should (s)he? He would not ask us to trust blindly for (s)he is not a coward.

    I experimented with these principles I trusted wholeheartedly and I got no consistent results; they told me the problem was with me. I kept quiet knowing the truth.

    The truth I found was that I didn’t know the truth and neither did they. We were all just trying out the most recommended path and believing in the validity of it. It worked sometimes but other times it failed.

    Been a while since I read me John C. Maxwell or the bible (which was once the pillar of my life). These books do help people as they did help make me who I am, but then I think that I know how I feel about these things now.

    They cannot work for everyone the same way and if they don’t work for you, don’t feel bad.

    Just keep trying and write a book when you find your own way, for it might help a few other people.

    • I once read somewhere that “there is no truth, only opinion”. I cant say I agree but I think we just dont KNOW the truth, we only believe what we can and move on until it is verified or disproved. Hence it is a matter of opinion.

      If I write my book in such atone as to make people believe that my way WILL work for them, have I not done more harm than good? Why not write it as a self-biography? Why compile it into some semi-conistent toilet philosophy as many of these “self-help” people seem to do?

      I think the harm outweighs the potential good.

  7. What can I say? I believe in Christ as the way, the truth and the life. The reference point. All men are liars and we always distort the light we receive from the Divine. However, the distortions of men should not discourage us from seeking the Divine Truth. Sighs. Where can I start to explain this from? The Bible is flawed but the Word of God is perfect. Let me stop there for now. 🙂
    Nice write up Wole.
    P.S. I actually read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Sad thing is, I hardly put the lessons learnt into practice. That’s about the only motivational book I’ve ever read. Ok, the Richest Man in Babylon also. 😀

    • You know this. I know this. But can anyone else believe it with as much conviction? Do we have the right to say anything about a Pagan who believes in his own gods and finds peace and happiness through them as some do? What shall we say then?

      My point is, you can only believe for yourself. Stick to it. Not because you know it will bring about a given outcome (heaven or hell) but because you genuinely believe it to be right.

      Thanks 🙂

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