I have always been an avid reader of self help books and online articles. I preferred books that imparted knowledge and thought that reading anything apart from the news paper or books in the non-fiction genre was a waste of time.
It’s not that I only read self help books to gain knowledge. I read enjoyed the anecdotes the authors shared like the mini paradigm shift by Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People or the story of a sales man with his flash cards in The Power of Positive Thinking. It was also of interest to me how successful people achieved their success and fueled my own desire to be successful.
One day I asked myself how I have benefited from reading all self help material that I have been reading for the past 5 years. I have been reading a lot of content about self development, motivation and productivity but what was the net gain from it? How much did I grow as a person and was there a way for me to quantify the benefits I gained?
When I am disheartened I often go back to the question, “What is my WHY?” and the sole purpose of writing this blog was to be able to connect with people who want to be successful in life just like me. I don’t post here regularly but only when I think I can provide something of value to my readers who just like want to find out how to be successful in life. I write from the heart, pen down my point of view and write about things that either make sense to me or work for me.
Therefore I think that my point of view of why Self help books never worked for me might be helpful to you if you are in a similar situation.
I think that I shouldn’t have wasted [wasted not invested] all the money and more importantly time in self help material because it does not work the way it is supposed to work and that is the truth for most people. I say this because if there are supposedly millions of copies sold then there should be at least a million more successful people right?
Here’s another fact that I realized, no matter how much money I spent on buying books, training programs or hiring a coach, it was not going to make a difference unless I was prepared to accept the fact that I am responsible for myself and I was going to need to take action if I ever was going to be successful.
I was so desperate to be successful that in my mind I was sure that reading this book or going to that training program is all I needed to be successful in life. I set the bar of expectation too high and patience level too low and I ended up being disappointed. I kept looking for other resources on the internet.Blogs such as this, articles, videos, free training programs but none of them worked.
It didn’t work because I was not willing to work to make the necessary changes to be successful in life.
For me the problem was that a particular personal development or self help resource did not apply to my situation and that there were other resources that I hadn’t discovered yet that would make me successful.Our brains tries to take the easy way out when it encounters a task it finds unpleasant. I didn’t want to invest in the stock market because it was too risky. The truth is I was not willing to learn how it works. I don’t want to publish a book because no one would like to read what I write when the truth is that I am going to need to work hard and push myself outside my comfort zone to learn about how to publish and market my book.
The problem isn’t self help books; the problem is that I won’t help myself.
How to Make Self Books Work for you?
Any book is a self-help guide if you can take something from it.
– Kevin Smith
In the past couple of weeks I have learnt and see myself constantly reminding myself that is very important to surround yourself with people who love you and have your best interest at heart. I learnt that almost anything that is essential cannot be quantified and is invisible. I learnt this not from any self help books but from reading fiction because when I opened the book I had no expectation whatsoever.
I was so engrossed in reading and understanding the words and thoughts that those words and thoughts were now my words and thoughts. When you start reading any book, especially self help or personal development books have zero expectations from the book.
Rather than reading try to get into the frame of reference of the author, understand the content and if it makes sense to you get to using it right away. Don’t wait for the perfect time or day, just get started and keep using it until it no longer makes sense to you or you come up with your very own solution.
Another important thing to remember is if you find what you learnt from a book to be helpful keep revisiting the book even if it’s only to read the text you’ve highlighted, you will almost always discover something new that you missed previously.
I’ve read “A million little pieces” by James Frey at least 4 times but each time I find something fresh to take away from the book. The last time I read it I learnt about how any sort of addictions works in a way that I had never viewed it before.
Self Help Books Don’t Make You Successful.
Imagine being successful just by reading a couple of books? I would memorize each and every page if that were possible. Self help books should not be thought of as means to riches.
A good way to learn is to learn from your mistakes; even better way to learn is to learn from the mistakes of others.
A couple of self help books comes with years of experience from the authors, what worked and what did not work for them. Think about it, even this post comes from my personal experience with self help books. You will make mistakes no doubt but by learning from the mistakes of other you learn to avoid the most common ones.
Books are mediums of learning not secret pathways to success. There is no guaranteed formula for success; each one must carve his own way. If you are better equipped with knowledge and the information you need you will get there faster. Others will learn from their mistakes and get there eventually. Read to Broaden Your Perspective to help you make better decisions.
Top 10 Self Help Books To Master Productivity and Generate Wealth.
Did this title catch you attention? Did you try clicking on the URL above to check out the list?
I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
– George Carlin
You are unique and so are your goals and areas of learning. Instead of reading from a pre-defined list identify your areas of strength and weakness and discover books, training programs, articles that best suit you. If you are trying to learn a trade or technique just one book is not enough. Get involved; follow people who are considered authority in that field. Check out what people are talking about in forums.
Most importantly if you come across a book that you found helpful and think someone else could benefit from it, suggest it to them. If you have a spare copy lend them or better yet gift them the book, they will be thankful to you.