Monday, January 19, 2009

Personal Message from Richard Eyre

Thanks to all who have visited this brand new blog, and for the valuable feedback you have already provided!

Although I have written and published more than two dozen books, I have never had an experience quite like The Three Deceivers. First of all, I wrote it in online installments and got instant (same day) feedback from scores of readers on every article (every chapter). And now, with the blog, and with the impetus from Glenn Beck, the inputs and comments continue to pour in!

Sometimes when you write something like The Three Deceivers, you wonder if anyone will see things like you do, and if it will seem as important and as personally relevant to others as it does to you. I'm so happy that that worry was unfounded, and I am overwhelmed at how many people seem to feel that I have given voice to some of the very things they were thinking and trying to clarify and deal with.

Maybe it is partially the tough economic times we are experiencing.....a great time, I guess, to redefine success and re prioritize what matters most in our lives. If The Three Alternatives can be helpful in this process, I am honored!

Keep Writing!

Richard Eyre

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Three Deceivers - Glenn Beck Interview - Part 1

As Glenn and I talked yesterday, I thought how interesting it is that we were both really writing about the same things in his Christmas Sweater and my Three Deceivers. We are both saying, essentially, that the only way we fix the world is by fixing ourselves and that the real problem is that we want the wrong things. We want to control everything, we want more and more stuff (ownership), and we want to stubbornly stand on our own, be independent, and not need anyone else. All these “wants” (I call them the three deceivers of Control, Ownership, and Independence or “CO&I”) distance us from other people, destroy our relationships, and undermine our happiness.

Glenn and I agree that all three are great economic concepts. It is a good thing to control our expenses and our appetites, a good thing to be out of debt and own things and take care of them, and a good thing to try to be as financially independent as we can. The problem is that we carry CO&I too far, and make them our personal and spiritual paradigms. We want to control those around us and to control every part of our day and of our lives. We want to check off everything on our lists and let nothing get in the way of our agenda. But things never go exactly as we had planned, and that loss of control frustrates us.

And since we measure ourselves by how much we own and by how independent we can become or how little help we need from others. All three deceivers isolate us from other people and from God and most importantly, in the big picture, they are all lies! We don’t really own anything in this world, and we control so very little, and we need others (and need God) every day and in every way.

Today and over the next two days, we will be talking about alternatives to the three deceivers….about new attitudes and new paradigms that are more true, and that lead us toward humility and appreciation and happiness and better relationships rather than away from them.

The alternative to the deceiver of Control is Serendipity, an attitude that pursues pro-active goals but stays open to surprises and looks for the spontaneous, the unexpected, and the adventure in life and welcomes them all. Let me tell you a story:

While I was a student at the Harvard Business School, I had a favorite professor named Livingstone. He would say “We are training you to be CEOs, therefore you must be in control and in charge, you must be on the offense, you must never be surprised. If you are ever surprised, it is because you have failed to do sufficient contingency planning!” I loved him. I wanted to be just like that.

That summer, I had an internship in Hawaii, with an airline. I would fly to one of the outer islands each week end and hitchhike. One Saturday, on the big island, I got a ride with a bona fide Hawaiian couple who introduced themselves as “Rusty and Honey.” They picked me up in Hilo and off we went for Kona, on the other side of the island. They kept stopping to show me a waterfall, or some big lilies, or an old volcano. All day they delightedly showed me their island, and at sunset, we pulled into Kona. I thanked them and said how lucky I felt that they had been going all the way to Kona. “Oh no,” Rusty said in his pigeon English, “We were not going Kona, we were going grocery store.”

I stared at him in amazement and he explained, “We can go grocery store tomorrow—cannot take you to Kona tomorrow!”

I wondered how that kind of joyful spontaneity would play with Professor Livingstone, and I spent the rest of the summer wondering whether I would rather be Rusty.

Later I found a word that I think is a “bridge” between the pro-active, structured, control-what-you-can world of Livingstone and the flexible, live-in-the-moment and good-relationships world of Rusty and Honey. The word is serendipity which actually means:
“A state of mind wherein a person, through awareness and sensitivity, frequently finds something that is better than the thing he was seeking.”

The Serendipity alternative to the Control deceiver simply means that as we pursue our goals and check off our lists, we take off our blinders and see other people and their needs and the opportunities that come up unexpectedly. We relish rather than resent surprises and we look for chances to meet new people or go in new directions that we couldn’t have predicted or planned. We accept the fact that we don’t (and can’t and wouldn’t want to) control everything, and thus each day becomes an adventure.

To get the full story on all three deceivers and all three of their alternatives, click here. (Right now the book is available exclusively to Glenn Beck listeners.)

See you here in this newsletter tomorrow for a little discussion of Stewardship, which is the alternative to the deceiver of Ownership.

Get the book here.

What are the Three Deceivers?

Why is it that most Americans think the country is going in the wrong direction? Why is every newscast filled with stories about corruption and greed? And most of all, why has our economy melted down (not to mention our faith and trust in most all of our institutions)?

Could it all have a fundamental cause that is so basic, so personal, and so simple that none of us notice it?

Could it be that the roots of our problems lie not in our institutions or our society but in our individual lives and in our personal measurements of “success?’

Could it be that we are, almost all of us, pursuing the wrong goals?

Could it be that we have developed obsessions with three subtly insidious deceivers—three things that we respect and revere almost to the point of worship—things which we think are worthy pursuits and the ingredients of happiness—but which are actually false and hollow goals that rope us off from the true meaning of our lives?

The three most self-pursued things in today’s world are control, ownership, and independence. (If you want to verify that, walk up and down the isle of the self-help section of a Barnes and Noble.)

The problem with each of the three is their pursuit detracts from our happiness and contributes to our frustration. And there is a deeper problem: They are false and unobtainable

Control, Ownership, and Independence—let’s call them CO&I. Each starts out good. It is good to control our temper and our appetites, good to own the basic necessities, good to have independent thoughts and ideas. But we carry all three too far! We try to control everything and everyone, to make our lists and check everything off and have everything go just the way we planned and everyone do just what we think they should. We are frustrated by surprise and by people and circumstances that go in a different direction and can’t be controlled. We want to own more and more and we measure ourselves and judge others by possessions. We try so hard to be independent and to need no one but ourselves that we become isolated and lonely and forget how interdependent we are on each other and how dependent we are on God.

When we really think, or really pray, we see the deceivers for what they are. We realize that we control so little and that life is better lived by accepting and taking joy in what comes. We realize that we don’t really own anything, that things just pass through us and are temporary. We realize that we need everyone and are vulnerable and interdependent with countless people in countless situations. Ultimately, we realize that it is God who controls everything, who owns everything, and on whom we are dependent for all. Finally, we start to realize that recognizing the three deceivers finding alternatives for them is the key to happiness in this world.

There are powerful alternatives to the three deceivers—alternative attitudes that are peaceful rather than frustrating, inclusive rather than isolating, and true rather than false.

The alternative attitude to Control is Serendipity—the joyful acceptance of what comes, and the magical ability to be observant and aware enough to frequently find things better than what we were seeking.

The alternative attitude to Ownership is Stewardship—the understanding that we take care of some of God’s things and that the best things in life really are free.

The alternative attitude to Independence is Synergicity—a combination of synergy and synchronicity that helps us to see how all is interrelated and how we can always do more by working with others.

Over the next four days, we will explore these three eleven-letter “S” words, which we will call “The Three Alternatives” and will look at how each of us can replace CO&I with SS&S!

The bottom line is that each of us has two basic options: To continue to compete for the world’s definition of success (CO&I) and to find mostly frustration and envy in the process-- OR to redefine what success truly is—to look within, and to our families, and to the spirituality each of us has inside—and to measure ourselves in terms of our Serendipity, our Stewardship, and our Synergicity!

If we choose the latter, better course, maybe, over time, the world will follow our individual examples, and as greed, domination and isolation dissipate, so will some of the world’s biggest problems. We change big things by working on the very smallest things—ourselves.

Get the book The Three Deceivers by clicking here.