BE HAPPY, BE SMART

Friday - - Editor’s Letter - Mri­nal Shekar Deputy Ed­i­tor mshekar@gulfnews.com

Like Ge­orge Car­lin, Amer­ica’s fa­mous stand-up co­me­dian, I too be­lieve the term ‘self-help’ when at­tached as a pre­fix to the word ‘book’ is a mis­nomer. Think about it. If you’re look­ing for help in a book writ­ten by some­body else, then shouldn’t it be called seek­ing help? How can it be self-help? Any­way, I’m not try­ing to put an en­tire genre of au­thors out of their jobs by triv­i­al­is­ing what they do. But what I’m cer­tainly try­ing to say is that I be­lieve in the term self-help. Per­son­ally, I’ve had a high suc­cess rate with it, so I have faith in its power. And if there are times when any amount of in­tro­spec­tion does not find me an an­swer to my prob­lem, I read Calvin and Hobbes. Yes, the comic strip cre­ated by Amer­i­can car­toon­ist Bill Wat­ter­son.

This time go ahead and judge me if you like, but for me Calvin, the pre­co­cious six-year-old boy, and his al­ter ego stuffed toy Hobbes, are the light at the end of the meta­phoric dark tun­nel, the mas­ter key to all of the world’s prob­lems – or at least my prob­lems for sure.

Are you now won­der­ing, how so? Be­cause I be­lieve the two are happy as they should be, de­spite the holier-than-thou girl­friend, a bully for a class­mate and nu­mer­ous other naysay­ers in their lives. The word ‘Don’t’ just does not ex­ist in their vo­cab­u­lary, their imag­i­na­tion is not con­strained by any harsh re­al­ity and they def­i­nitely do not seek val­i­da­tion from those around them. Life is sim­ple, and that’s the way to be.

And if you’re now try­ing to point out to me that they are a fig­ment of some­one’s imag­i­na­tion and there­fore far re­moved from re­al­ity, then I’ll point you to­wards the fea­ture ‘How to boost your EQ’ on page 46. Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, a high emo­tional quo­tient or a happy at­ti­tude is the smarter way to be. It gets you plum jobs and pro­mo­tions, and keeps you on top of the pop­u­lar­ity charts at work.

And now if you’re won­der­ing which self-help book you should pick up to im­prove your EQ score, I would still say choose Calvin and Hobbes.

Un­til next week,

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