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Sunday, March 25, 2012

No Way to Brag about Being Humble

I know I've told this story before about meeting an elderly gentleman at a small gathering. I asked him  what his interests were and among the things he said was, "and I try not to be too authentic."
I loved that and have used it as one of my life guides ever since. There is nothing more inauthentic than trying to be authentic. 

So I have to laugh at myself again for the following exchange of letters. I was just thinking to have a pleasant exchange and I was grateful for the letter writer's interest and encouragement of my work. However when I read it over, after I sent if, of course, it smacked of the very thing I do not like to find in myself, a holier-than-thou kind of attitude. There's no way to congratulate yourself for being humble. I guess that's what I ended up doing in the letter. Another lesson for me. 

And as an aside here, sometimes I am hoodwinked by thinking people are  writing out of sincerity,  to congratulate me on my work, only to discover they want me to join something, or buy something.

And the other thing here is, after all these years, I find, after reading my letter over, that I am still rankled at how I was treated by Dr. Seligman many years ago.  I guess I'm not as highly enlightened as I like to think I am. I did try to get Dr. Seligman to write a blurb for my first depression book and all he said to me was, "The president of the American Psychological Association does not go around doing blogs for people's books." Put me right in my place and that was more than ten years ago. Anyway, judge for yourself.  Here is the exchange of letters.

Dear Dr Curtis (If you don't have a PhD - you deserve one)

I am a business/ lifestyle consultant based in Chicago. I teach meditation and mindfulness practices and I am a voracious reader!

I "accidentally" found your books on the Internet and I am now reading both your books.
Depression is Choice and Brain Switch.

I am writing to tell you that both these books are very enjoyable and ground-breaking. I don't suffer from depression - I have always been a "sunny" individual and I have found creative ways to get out of slumps. I am particularly fond of the exercises outlined in Brain Switch because I use similar techniques - some of them from books and some of them were just created by me.

Have you read about positive psychology? Works by Marty Seligman?
I think your work and Dr Seligman's work are very complementary.

Keep spreading the message! We need more people like you in this world.


Dear S
Thank you so much for your note. Yes, I mention Seligman in my first book. I am familiar with his work.

A. B. Curtiss

Hi A.B. Curtiss: 

Thanks for your prompt response.

I am not aware of your marketing efforts. Are you familiar with Les Fehmi and Open Focus?
I believe there are many synergies between your work and his work.

Please check out his website  I believe that there are synergies between your organizations. If you are interested, I can provide introductions.


Dear S

Well, to tell you the truth I'm not really marketing my work. I have put it out there and it's kind of wandering around willy nilly. I have a blog that I answer people's questions and I am asked now and then to appear or consult. I just finished working with a clinic who uses my books and they are involved in a documentary, with some other organizations on alternative treatments for depression, so they interviewed me for a couple of hours under the lights with a film crew. That was fun.  

But I don't charge for any of this. Perhaps it is my fate to remain a little-known author who writes in my garret, thumbing endlessly through my tattered thesaurus, searching for the elusive right word. Thanks for your interest. I am the exact opposite of Martin Seligman as far as marketing is concerned, including my belief in the wisdom of humility.  A. B. Curtiss

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