This past week I started thinking of one of my favorite authors, Robert J. Ringer (see his picture at left). I did a web search for him and was pleased to learn that he has his own website and also writes a weekly column at WorldNet Daily. I bookmarked the sites and decided to read all of Ringer’s posts over the weekend.
On Saturday I read through all of Robert Ringer’s articles on his website, finding them mildly interesting and useful. I have often looked at Ringer as a personal hero, but I now realize that Ringer is just a man like me, and in fact, he is a good salesman of his books, articles and persona. What is that persona, exactly?
Here’s how I would describe it: Ringer seems to be a really cool guy, a shrewd observer of the human condition, a man who is spiritual and who knows how to manifest the good things in his life, as if he were the gatekeeper of some magic door that opens to secret knowledge, happiness and success. He conveys a high sense of self confidence that causes others to have confidence in him. Finally, he has a self-deprecating sense of humor, using his own foibles and failures as anecdotal examples of what not to do. Because he failed several times before achieving success, his example relieves his readers of any sense of shame over their own failures. It’s okay to fail as we all do it; but failure should be seen as a temporary and necessary part of the price-paying process on the road to success. This is indeed an important life lesson.
Robert Ringer is a guy who seems to have all the answers to the riddle of life. In some ways, he reminds me of Forrest Gump, the dull hero of the movie of the same name. Forrest Gump found some kind of spiritual solace in running and began to run, nonstop, across the continent. His beard grew long until it flapped in the breeze, but he continued to run. Along the long road others were attracted to him and began to run along with him, until a throng of followers escorted him on his seemingly endless trek. Gump’s groupies had become convinced that Gump knew all the answers to life and so they followed him, hoping to gain the secret knowledge that he possessed, the key that would open the magic door to understanding where everything fell into place and the purpose of their existence revealed.
Okay, there is a big difference between Ringer and Forrest Gump. Robert Ringer actually does know things worth learning. He is an everyman who, against all odds, self published his first book (“Winning Through Intimidation”) in the 1970’s and became a best selling author.
His second book was even better, “Looking Out For Number 1.” The latter became one of the best selling self-help books of all time. It is still my favorite. But just as you wouldn’t want to be a Gump Groupie, don’t be a Ringer Groupie either. My point is this: don’t get sucked into a personality cult. If there is someone whose character and accomplishments you admire, emulate him – don’t become a hero-worshipping groupie. Robert Ringer didn’t do that. He had his heroes, but he is the architect of his own life, as you must be the architect of yours. I’ll have more to say about this in future posts.