The monk sold his Ferrari. Why couldn't he give it away?
I was told by a friend that I needed to be inspired if I were to write a winning essay. Well,
here I am, jabbing a knife into my desk as I duck beneath a hail of ash and bullets, no closer
to inspiration than I was 3 years ago when I first picked up my copy of the acclaimed, yet
inane Chicken Soup for the Soul. This brings me to my question, "Where can I find
inspiration?" Ask Deepak Chopra (bless his pure, maiden heart) and he'll quote a vague and
incoherent paragraph from one of his books about chaos and self realisation after which the
only logical course of action would be to shrug and walk away. However, ask a librarian, and
like a trembling child pointing out to the monster behind its door, he'll point out to the self-
help section, where lay the broken hopes of a thousand battered freshmen, love-sick youths
and most of the actors of the Star Wars franchise. Choose any book, doesn't matter which
one since the content is usually the same old drivel about successful college dropouts.
Proceed to pick a table, slam the book down on the same table, grab the librarian by the
collar, and force him onto the chair. Turn around and walk out of the library in slow motion,
preferably with your customized theme song playing over the librarian's cries for help.
Despite countless attempts at trying to feel inspired, be it by reading lofty literature or
streaming cheesy motivational videos online, I often later find myself inspired by the most
trivial of events, such as a street dog feeding its children or a local brand of fast food, honest
enough to admit its products are unfit for people with high blood cholesterol. At the risk of
negating the little to no positive impact motivational speakers have had on society, it is
evident that they only sell what people want to hear; ideologies and quotes we normally
reject as trite and clichéd, yet when voiced by a man in a suit, we assign to them a status of
great and unparalleled wisdom.
Robin Sharma has sold over a million copies and his books populate the shelves of all major
and minor bookstores alike. His name is on the lips of almost every aspiring entrepreneur
there exists, but why do we need knowledge that is already known to us? Which Disney
movie hasn't taught us to believe in ourselves? And do we really need Chicken Soup? The
inherent dependency of society on extrinsic sources of willpower, to shift the blame on its
counterparts and consequently find comfort from evasion is not only crippling, but it also
mitigates the value of the individual. Escapism sells, but you don't need to buy it.
A significant problem I have with the Chicken Soup franchise is that their copies never
include an actual bowl of chicken soup. The myriad contradictions infused into our lives,...