Someone once told me an expert is anyone paid to travel more than 50 miles to tell someone else what to do. Thanks to the blogosphere, the opinionsphere, and the ponitifisphere, the definition of expert has morphed a bit. An expert now is someone self-evidently important, with no hesitation to dispense advice.

Case in point: I saw an article called, “How To Avoid Seeming Like Something Other Than a Wonderful Human Being”. My first thought was that anyone who saw fit to provide 15 tips on how to avoid seeming like something other than a wonderful human being might not be one. And the tips turned out to be a mere wind-up for this pitch, which doesn’t qualify, of course, as being something other than a wonderful human being:

Would you like a free, personalized, signed bookplate for your copy of The Get Your Bliss On Right Now Project or More Blissful Wherever You Are? Or, if you have the e-book or the audio-book, a signature card? Or would you like these for a friend? Request as many as you want at

Bliss is now a project? Good grief.

For all the content written, for all the puff pieces printed and broadcast about overwork, about never disconnecting, about the threats to our mortality from being constantly online, about sacrificing me time for corporate we time, when do we have time to think about being blissful? And if we’re not blissful with all our distractions, why do we abide them?

Most important, why do we believe a commercial contrivance like The Get Your Bliss On Right Now Project will actually make us blissful? Are we incapable of knowing who and how we are?

Imagine if we substituted self-awareness and self-faith for our preoccupations with blissfulness. Imagine if, rather than money, we invested time and effort in determining who we are and what we want. Imagine if we looked inward, rather than outward, for inspiration and fulfillment. Imagine if we had as much faith in our own judgment as we do in the judgment of experts.

This is not a closed track with professional drivers. We can try this at home. And we should. If we’re not determined to examine ourselves — to know who we are, what we want, what makes us tick, and why — do we really believe a one-size-fits-all The Get Your Bliss On Right Now Project (or anything else that constitutes anything like a shelf product, for that matter) will do the trick?

But if you feel compelled to have a book as a guide to your journey, get this one: If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him. In the meantime, beware of experts. They’re probably not terribly blissful.

In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while. (Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862)

* This story is entirely true. The names have been changed to keep me out of an orange jumpsuit.

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