Interview with Kate Bowler: Why a Harder Hustle Doesn’t Help Big Life Problems

There are implicit promises hidden in millions of words spilled over time management, productivity and self-help. If you understand the right strategy, you will eventually lead a more meaningful life.

“American culture has a popular theory of how to build a perfect life,” Kate Bowler wrote in her new book. There is no cure for being human (and other truths I need to hear).. “If you learn how to overcome your limits, you’ll get it all. Infinity lurks at the bottom of your inbox, or somewhere in the pile of self-help books on your bedside table.”

This guarantee of the American self-help industry is the same as what Bowler saw in her work as a Christian historian at Duke’s Theological Seminary: “You can do everything just by believing.” But at the age of 35, Bowler was diagnosed with incurable stage IV colon cancer and was keen on the lie that “correcting” productivity, efficiency, culture, time, and life is simply finding the right strategy. I threw the idea of ​​relief.

of There is no cure for being human, Bowlers who have been able to manage their cancer with immunotherapy will study how to overcome your limits, explore what it would be like to spend years learning, but refuse to conquer. You just hit the limits. After spending a lot of time on the efficiency-focused “Gospel of the Hustle,” he constantly demanded more and urged him to conquer all to-do lists (which ultimately led to bucket lists. You will be able to do all of the above). A book as a project “Trying to understand how sufficiency feels”.

So we ask her how to deal with the feeling of having too much work and too little time, which self-help clichés are random, and what to do when a self-help situation arises. I did. It’s totally useless.

In this book, you write, “I found enough moments without more promises.” That “enough moment” feels like a place we all think we can reach by reaching the bottom of our inbox.

We believe in the gospel of hustle and bustle, the gospel of efficiency, and the gospel of time management. We are confident that we need to train ourselves in a better routine. As a self-help historian, I have read hundreds of these formulas. I tried to take all the advice I was getting seriously. Each one always has a little wisdom, and there is always a kind of great idea. But when it cannot solve the problem of being a person, the whole idea of ​​the formula collapses. It does not solve the pain problem. For example, the Gospel of Hustle, the more I worked, the more work I got. Even success looks like failure, and I was just trying to reach the end of mythical work.

You studied The gospel of prosperity— This idea that God gives you in return for faith — But have you also studied other non-faith-related self-help?

Well, it’s a common misconception that self-help is not a spiritual genre. It is primarily based on the metaphysical tradition that we imagine our mind to be a powerful incubator. It formed some of the main assumptions of what we call the American dream. It is individualistic and presupposes a very bloated independence. It’s a hyper instrumentalist.That is, not only do you have the truth, you need tools and everything strategy.. All of them are based on the belief that they have a really long religious past. Its metaphysical tradition believed that the mind was the most important spiritual generator, and that our mind matched the power of the universe with our own abilities. That was the beginning of “just a good feeling”. [laughs]..

Interview with Kate Bowler: Why a Harder Hustle Doesn’t Help Big Life Problems

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