I’ve written lots of ad copy during my various careers. I know that people love to read about “secrets” as they apply to wealth, health and fame. “Secrets” is a hot word in the world of ad copy. Usually the use of the word is attention-getting but harmless.
Lately I’ve become perplexed at the hyper foisted on people by those who claim special access to “secrets” and “hidden knowledge.”
Consider: once a secret is shared, it isn’t a secret anymore. And hidden knowledge? If someone has found it, it is no longer hidden.
Knowledge and information can be obscure, hard to find, not commonly known or ignored but by and large, there is little that is truly secret or hidden. Generally such claims justify a high price tag by the holder of this hidden/secret knowledge or information.
It would be prudent to note that just as gravity can make your jaw drop, claims seemingly too good to be true aren’t. Guys like Bernie Madoff remind us of that, but our memories, it seems, are short.
To be useful, information doesn’t need to be hidden or secret. It needs to be valid and used.
The best repository of useful information, neither hidden nor secret, is the public library. The greatest warehouse of knowledge in any community is typically the public library. Do you have a card? How often do you visit?
The internet certainly gives access to lots of information but one must judge the accuracy and validity of information found online. I’m consistently skeptical and try my best to substantiate or refute the interesting things I find online and want to talk or write about.
My advice for the day: stop looking for the secrets and hidden information. Beware the man, woman or company that tries to sell you that hype. Instead, study the great books, ideas and principles proven by time and then do the hard work of applying them to your life and situation.
Amen! People typically stumble over the “hard work” part of the equation. Following the proven “there is nothing new under the sun” meta-approach (including that there’s a proven way to imagine NEW approaches) and WORKING through the fear/difficult times is what ALWAYS works. That common sense is common practice among the world’s best people/organizations. We’d all do better by acknowledging that pattern.
Thanks for the post, Mark
The OTHER Mark
Going to the library is so yesterday! It’s free and open to everyone. It’s bright and 72 degrees, and I can sip water out of the drinking fountain any time I’m thirsty. The librarian asks me to whisper and follow the Dewey Decimal System. Who does she think she is…God?
Are you suggesting that the elusive answers needed to live a healthy, richer, more purposeful life are in the neighborhood library? I mean, where’s the Secret in that?
Look Sanborn, if what you’re saying is true, I’m gonna have to stop payment on this $9500 check I just put in the mail!
As a frequent user of the library, I sometimes feel like dated. And when I recommend books to people, I feel positively antedeluvian.
Reading a book requires sustained attention, the ability to make connections, to analyze, and to ponder, and a commitment of time — qualities and disciplines that aren’t much valued these days (but that are much needed).