A Citizen’s Guide to Greece 2015


October 21, 2014

A Self-Help Revolution?

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Written by: DW

By David Wisner

Last week I was invited to attend a seminar organized by a well-known network marketing company. I do not collaborate personally with this company, but I know of it and have been curious to observe how their corporate philosophy resonates in crisis-stricken Greece.

The keynote speaker was an American who has been involved in this business for several decades and whose personal production on behalf of the company is immense. An elderly gentleman, he is held in high esteem by local practitioners of the art, almost to the extent of being a veritable cult hero.

The highlight of the event, from this observer’s point of view at least, came when a couple from one of Greece’s larger towns was recognized for their recent success in the business. The gentleman, a music teacher, was humble, grateful, and sincere in his thanks for the opportunities provided him by the host company. “What I appreciate most about this line of work,” he said, “is that someone can get ahead by helping other people get ahead.”

I was tempted to think that I had witnessed a homegrown expression of that classic Anglo-Saxon theory of enlightened self-interest. To be sure, there was a healthy dose of the real thing on display, particularly in the persons of the American guest speakers who had traveled to Greece to encourage their local counterparts here to build their own businesses and lift themselves out of the clutches of the economic crisis here. There was also a fair amount of swagger, polish, savvy, and rah-rah in the presentations.

What a beautiful contrast with my music teacher, shy, almost apologetic for his being in the spotlight.

I myself struggle with some of the things this company represents, which may or may not be evident to a Greek audience. However, it cannot but be a good thing for Greece and Greeks that they take a simple self-help message and make it theirs. It is to be noted that a good number of young people in the 18-25 age bracket were among the 1000 or more people attending in the audience.

While not a revolution — yet — you cannot deny that these people are trying to buck a lot of ingrained trends. The consequences are potentially far-reaching.


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