Today sees the publication of Finding Your Way in a Wild New World by one of America's top life coaches Martha Beck. Martha's exciting new book is a heartfelt and inspirational road map to making miraculous changes in your life.
If you've ever found yourself thinking, I want to do more than work nine to five, I want to make a difference, I want to count, Martha's advice in Finding Your Way in a Wild New World is for you. Martha uses her extensive coaching experience to lead you through the four powerful steps towards becoming a happier, more confident person, able to heal yourself, others and the planet.
Martha took some time out with the Piatkus team to tell us about herself, her inspirations and what she thinks the future holds for us all.
1. What led you to be a life coach?
My clients did. I was teaching at Harvard Business School and had no idea there was such a thing as a 'life coach'. But I loved talking to my students about their lives and giving them assignments that were atypical for academia, for example, 'Instead of a term paper I insist that you spend some time in the woods without speaking, and tell me what you learn about yourself'. The students began asking me if they could pay me just to talk about their lives. I expected this to be a brief phase but people just kept hiring me. One day I read in the newspaper that I was a 'life coach.' Who knew?
2. Who inspires you?
In a way, every single person I meet inspires me. Some do it by negative example. For instance, inspiring me not to get lost in mind-traps that are making them miserable. Others inspire me by being geniuses in a certain area. Everyone has a genius. My son, who has Down's Syndrome, is one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met. He sees the world without a filter of damaging, egoistic horse manure and is one of my most humbling teachers.
3. Do you think we are moving into a more altruistic age?
I do. Otherwise we’ll continue to slaughter one another and destroy the ecological basis for our survival, then die in either a bang or a whimper. And what fun would that be? I have no idea whether we can actually avoid this fate but I choose to think so.
4. How do you see the world changing in the future?
First, I think our society and economy will be transformed by the dissolution of Industrial-Revolution style education and work. I’m not sure what that will look like, but I expect it to be a revolution of the order of Gutenberg’s development of movable type. I also believe we’ll become much more comfortable with a version of reality closer to quantum physics than Newtonian physics. I think we’ll come to take it for granted that our nervous systems are wireless communication devices and that everything is connected. My hope is that this leads to a more empathic way of being, in which care of things like rivers, mountains, and animals is simply a normal extension of care for our own well-being. I also think hemlines will be alternately much shorter, then much longer, then much shorter again. Call me psychic.
5. What are the four essential points you’d like the reader to take away from the book?
First, that our real, true nature – as individuals and as a species – is designed to fit in with nature, not with the artificial, factory-based education and work systems we’ve come to think of as 'normal'. (Actually, living in boxes and staring at words and numbers all day is a bizarre aberration that’s only existed in certain cultures during a tiny span of history, since the Industrial Revolution.) We’ve been socialised in a system that was literally created to produce factory workers and now that system is breaking down – which is a good thing.
Second, you instinctively know how to do things that presently you think of as 'magic'. Some people call these things impossible, others call them divine or miraculous. But they’re simply natural. These things include connection and communication with other beings, even over vast distances; the ability to change your mental and physical condition deliberately; and to bring the things you imagine into reality with astonishingly little effort. You’ve probably never been taught to do these things, certainly not to their full extent, but they are natural to you. I realise this leads to many questions, which I discuss in Finding Your Way in a Wild New World.
Third, you can not only survive in the chaotic times ahead, you can live prosperously and joyfully in them. Once you let go of the artificial constraints placed on your mind by social institutions, you’ll find that surfing the waves of change is much more fun. I can’t tell you exactly what you’ll do, but to the extent that you follow your true nature, you’ll do it brilliantly.
Fourth, if you really serve yourself, your life will serve the world and everything in it. Selfishness, greed and exploitation of people and resources have all been pushed to their maximum by modern societies during the past few centuries of extreme materialism. People who have more than they need find that they still need something more. Fulfilling our true nature means realising that we are all essentially one being, so connecting and cooperating with other beings is more than a pious wish. It is enormously challenging and enormously enjoyable.
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