These 6 self help experts will change your life
From Oprah Winfrey to Deepak Chopra, self-help experts are everywhere. Some are complete chancers, but a few really can offer wisdom to improve your life. Here are some of the best.
If you're stuck in a rut: ECKHART TOLLE
German-born, Cambridge-educated, Eckhart Tolle says his inspiration came from a ”spiritual crisis” at 29 when, in his London bedsit, he almost lost the struggle with his neurotic perfectionist identity. He’s living proof you shouldn't dismiss an author just because Paris Hilton took his best-selling book The Power of Now with her to read in jail − a book Oprah Winfrey describes as “a wake-up call for the entire planet”. The core message, based largely on Zen Buddhism, is that many of us spend our lives fixated on the past or the future, when only the present is real. This wisdom is summed up in Sanskrit poem:
Yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision;
But today well-lived makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
The healthy body, healthy mind approach: AARON McKENZIE
Lifestyle and fitness coach Aaron McKenzie says a healthy body is key to every success. His Origin of Energy philosophy, a holistic approach to health, has attracted many in the corporate and sports worlds, including the lifeguards at Bondi Beach and former Roosters player and coach Anthony Minichiello. “Aaron helped educate me about my nutrition," Minichiello says. "Now I know diet plays a huge part in physical performance and healthy living.”
McKenzie believes in sharing his advice and exercise tips, free on the Origin of Energy gym website. “Eating well, reducing stress and being the best version of yourself means you’ll shine both in your personal and professional life,” says the personal trainer who advises exercising less but more effectively. It’s hard to argue with a man who can smile as he swings one-armed from a bar, balancing his newborn son in the other.
If you need a reality check: RICHARD CARLSON
The bestselling series of self-help books that began with Don't Sweat the Small Stuff… and It's All Small Stuff is sometimes dismissed as cheesy sentimentality. But Carlson, who died in 2006, was responsible for making a controversial but valid point: sometimes, what we need is not new tricks and techniques but rather a dose of perspective. It's not really all small stuff, as Carlson himself acknowledged, but you don’t need to make your whole life a drama.
For mindfulness made easy: JON KABAT-ZINN
A pioneer of mindfulness meditation, Jon Kabat-Zinn dispenses training in non-New Age settings, including his stress reduction clinic at the University of Massachusetts medical school. "Mindfulness-based stress reduction" requires paying heightened attention to the present moment. In an introductory exercise, Kabat-Zinn asks participants to study the appearance, texture and taste of a single raisin in what might seem excruciating detail − so don’t start out when you’re hungry. But learning to be grounded firmly in the present has relaxing and beneficial effects.
To get organised: DAVID ALLEN
The reluctant hero and guru of "productivity geeks", Allen developed a philosophy of personal organisation outlined in the book Getting Things Done. This relatively elaborate system will appeal most to those whose idea of a pleasant Sunday afternoon involves colour-coding their DVD collection. But the basic principles are simple and hold popular appeal with a healthy dose of practical reasoning. The question Allen urges we keep asking is "What's the next action?”
To change your life: STEPHEN COVEY
Here’s a summary of Covey’s principles that millions have used to improve work, partnerships and marriage.
Habit 1: Be proactive − change starts from within, you are not a captive of your past.
Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind – develop a personal mission statement based on personal principles and long-term goals.
Habit 3: Put first things first – spend most of your time doing things that fit into your personal mission.
Habit 4: Think win/win – seek agreements and relationships that are mutually beneficial, and, if this can’t be achieved, no deal is best.
Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood – the most important principle for interpersonal relationships is "listen before you speak".
Habit 6: Synergise − leverage individual differences to create a whole greater than the sum of the parts
Habit 7: Sharpen the saw – take time out from production to build more capacity.